Sunday, August 01, 2010

Equality impacts on ConDems

Local cuts had already focused my attention on the equalities dimensions of the coming attacks on jobs and services (http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.com/2010/07/cutting-away-at-equality.html) so I am incredibly pleased at the news that the Fawcett Society, having considered the disproportionate impact of the unnecessary "Emergency" Budget on women (http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1164) are to launch a legal challenge (http://m.guardian.co.uk/ms/p/gmg/op/szY1DW7s1YX1_ev4Q2pP53Q/view.m?id=522316&tid=120787&cat=Politics).



The Fawcett Society challenge focuses on blatant non-compliance with the Gender Equality Duty by the Treasury who apparently failed to assess the gender impact of the Budget before putting it before Parliament. This breaches Section 76A of the Sex Discrimination Act.



As we face cuts on a scale reminiscent of the 80s and early 90s it is all to obvious that in some ways (trade union density, trade union law) we are weaker and more constrained now than we were then.



However, we also have some new tools to test in defence of public services. The statutory equality duties which are the fruits of generations of struggle can now be pressed into service to resist cuts which impact disproportionately on the already disadvantaged.



Legal action is no substitute for industrial action, nor for the political pressure which is the ultimate objective of both. However, the Fawcett Society are about to help us all find out what can be done with these legal duties.



The TUC should take note - and all of us who are trade union activists need to brush up on the equality duties (and on tests of statistical significance!)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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