Advertiser letters: Council gender pay gap and NHS nurses
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Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.
Address work inequalities
Elena Scherbatykh, Tower Hamlets’ Women’s Equality Party, writes:
It is simply unacceptable that in 2019 women are still being paid less than men (a recent report said Tower Hamlets Council pay women 8.4 per cent less than men on average).
Addressing the inequalities women face is necessary in itself, but by unleashing the full potential of the workforce we can also increase funding for services like maintained nurseries and reducing sexual harassment and domestic violence.
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Councils, as both major employers and decision-makers, must lead the way in tackling the pay gap. That means greater transparency on who is being shortlisted and interviewed for jobs and promotions, broken down by gender, race and disability; offering flexible working and shared parental leave by default; and changing workplace cultures that see having children as something that affects the career progression of only one parent.
It also means putting universal free childcare at the top of the political agenda.
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The Women’s Equality Party priorities of free childcare, shared parental leave and zero tolerance for workplace discrimination would go a long way to addressing the structural barriers to equal pay. No other political party has been prepared to stand up and be counted on these issues.
Nursing gap in NHS needs filling
Jude Diggins, regional director and Cynthia Davis, board chairman, Royal College of Nursing, London, write:
The NHS is currently consulting on possible changes to the law that could help deliver the big ideas for the health service set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.
However, as nursing’s biggest professional union, we at the Royal College of Nursing believe there is a conspicuous gap in NHS plans. The gap is nurses, or rather the lack of them.
It’s a gap that has become too big, and too big a risk to ignore. It’s a gap that leaves existing nurses under intolerable pressure and which will continue to compromise patient care unless it is addressed.
There are nearly 40,000 nursing vacancies in England with London accounting for almost a quarter of the empty posts. This must change.
Please tell the NHS what you think by completing our form at rcn.eaction.org.uk/NHS-consultation.