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2012 National Women's Conference
17 October 2011
Carried as Amended

The budget cuts being imposed on the public sector is having a huge impact on women, two thirds of the public sector workforce is made up of women, who carry out a variety of roles. In some regions almost fifty per cent of the female population is employed in this sector.

Those traditional job roles filled by women such as administration is seeing a nineteen per cent increase in redundancies if compared to figures for 2010. This figure added to the rising numbers of posts not being filled due to employers closing workplaces, deleting posts and generally not recruiting is having a further impact on women’s lives.

In August 2011 the number of unemployed women rose by fifteen thousand six hundred. Changes to the welfare state are also contributing to the amount of women trying to access employment. We have lone parents being moved off income support onto Jobseekers Allowance when their child reaches the age of seven years. This benefit has seen claims reach a fifteen year high. It is clear that the budget cuts within the public sector will see this figure continue to rise. Cuts to tax credits, removal of enhancements/allowances from low paid women workers and the gap between pay and living costs is also adding to the burden that women face.

The government’s view on the effect of these cuts on women is worrying, the Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone when asked about her views on the effect on women that public sector cuts would have, is quoted as saying “you can’t make an omelette without cracking eggs”.

This shows a total lack of understanding of the role that women play in society and the contribution they make.

Therefore, conference asks the National Women’s Committee to:

1)Urge regional women’s groups to continue to gather information on the impact of the cuts and the extent of redundancies and the reduction in pay within the public and voluntary sector which particularly impact on women members, as part of the UNISON campaign to defend public services.

2)Raise the issue with both Labour Link and the GPF.

3)Use the Million Voices Campaign to raise awareness at national and local levels the impact of the cuts on women and how the loss of posts traditionally held by women are impacting on services.