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Date 8 March 2007

It's Time to Get Equal on Women's Day UNISON uses International Women's day to highlight thousands of equal pay problems

Scotland's public service union, UNISON will be staging a lobby at the Scottish Parliament on International Women's day (Thursday 8 March) to launch its Time to Get Equal campaign and draw attention to the continuing problems of delivering equal pay in the public services.

Glyn Hawker - UNISON's Scottish Organiser said "It is entirely appropriate that we are launching our campaign - Time to get equal - on International Women's Day. It is 30 years since the Equal Pay Act, and 8 since the signing of the single status agreement in local government. And we still have low-paid women being refused equal pay - sometimes even having their pay reduced - as employers try to make staff and service users pay for the unlawful pay discrimination that has occurred over these years."

Representatives of Scotland's low paid women workers will be present at a photocall outside the Parliament at 10.30am tomorrow, when they will display a huge invoice for £800 m to be presented at a meeting later in the morning.

This invoice is based on the amount of money estimated to deal with a range of public service staff who are likely to have a claim for equal pay, which has not been dealt with - classroom assistants, home carers, library workers and others.

This will be followed by a meeting in the Parliament - Committee Room 6 at which both Glyn Hawker - UNISON's Scottish Organiser, and Cathy Peattie MSP (who is also Convenor of the Equalities Committee) will speak.

Stephanie Herd, UNISON's Chair for Local Government will chair the meeting Cathy Peattie MSP said "The public sector should be setting an example in providing equality-proofed pay. It has been legally required for some time and a number of different organisations - including the EOC and our own Finance Committee - have expressed their concern about delays in delivering equal pay. All levels of the public sector should accept their responsibility and agree fair and equal pay scales with their unions."

Stephanie Herd said "In the weeks ahead of the elections in May UNISON members will be campaigning to ensure that all public services get funding to enable them to provide fair pay for all, including the funding to implement single status in Scottish Local Government. Whilst we welcome the recent increase in funding for local government, councils still face very real funding pressures in the future - as Audit Scotland has pointed out.

"The invoice we have brought along today clearly demonstrates the potential scale of this issue. It is time to deliver this long standing obligation, to ensure justice for low paid women, and to ensure that this justice is not paid for by other low-paid staff or the users of public services."


For Further Information Please Contact: Glyn Hawker, Scottish Organiser 07876 441 237 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 07715 583 729(m) Dave Smith (Cathy Peattie's office) 07740 094 026 (m)