Blog: ‘We can move mountains when we work together’

The ‘fantastic UNISON women’ fighting for fair pay in Glasgow offer an inspiring example for International Women’s Day

Christina McAnea with women in Glasgow

Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate women’s achievements around the world.

In my last blog, leading up to today, I highlighted the continuing battle led by fantastic UNISON women over equal pay at Glasgow City Council. Just last week, they voted overwhelmingly for strike action in their ongoing dispute. A huge 96% voted in favour of strike action.

I say it time and again: our UNISON women show the real power of a union. And this result was another one of those great achievements, brought about by the relentless organising and campaigning efforts of inspiring women trade unionists.

During the last push in the ballot campaign, I joined our activists in Glasgow, to hit the phones and turn out the vote. This is a long-running dispute over compensation payments, but whenever I have visited our activists at the city council, I can see their spirit has never been broken and their determination has never waned.

A deal was reached in 2019, after a 12-year campaign, covering payments to settle more than 16,000 cases, worth over £500 million. But a new pay and grading system needs to be introduced as many who work in caring, catering and cleaning – predominantly women – continue to be paid unfairly.

Despite the Equal Pay Act being introduced in 1970, over 50 years later employers still think they can get away with paying women less. The average woman works effectively for free for 56 days of the year, compared with the average man.

But UNISON is here to fight for fairness and equality. We do that best when we work together, and today we can celebrate the great achievements of the UNISON women who have shown us that we can move mountains when we work together.