Define the worth of a job

The dispute, which has been fought through the tribunals and courts for more than a decade and involves about 14,000 separate claims, stems from 2006, when a new job evaluation scheme was introduced by the then Labour-run council, with the aim of addressing gender pay inequality. Instead, say the women affected, it entrenched discrimination by paying female-dominated jobs such as catering and cleaning less than male-dominated jobs such as refuse collection because of a complex system that penalised people working split shifts and irregular hours.

The distinction between the same pay for the same job and the same pay for a job of equal worth. For in a market based economic system the only useful definition of a job of the same worth is one that pays the same….

6 comments on “Define the worth of a job

  1. it entrenched discrimination by paying female-dominated jobs such as catering and cleaning less than male-dominated jobs such as refuse collection because of a complex system that penalised people working split shifts and irregular hours.

    Absolutely. Someone working outdoors in all weathers, on a vital, unpleasant infrastructure role, should be paid more than someone who works indoors making sure there are some cucumber sandwiches.
    Of course there’s nothing stopping the women becoming refuse collectors… But we won’t mention that.

    I remember reading that they tried something in Canada to equalise pay, so the council office workers were paid the same as construction and outdoor maintenance staff. Result? A shortage of construction and maintenance workers… Quelle surprise!
    Can’t remember where I read it, will see if I can find.

  2. Cherny, perhaps the solution is to have job rotation so that the female office workers and cleaners can do a stint on the bin lorries. I’m guessing they won’t be so keen to complain afterwards.

  3. Many years ago I did a summer job with the council, I wanted to do refuse as I’m an early riser anyway. Instead spent my time in housing maintenance office which entailed a fair amount of time being told outright lies or sworn at by council tenants.
    There were people who would volubly complain about the door handle on their living room door being loose and insist on a maintenance person coming around immeadiatly

  4. @ Chernyy_Drakon
    You have forgotten the famous Cammell Laird case where the union won because the nominal hourly wage of a cook was less than that of a shipyard foreman welder working outdoors in the winter after the management consolidated the premium for working outdoors in winter into his basic pay – the clever bit is that the cook was paid for her regular breaks when she wasn’t working while he wasn’t paid during his breaks so she was *already* getting paid more – but the union won a case arguing she should get a pay rise.
    Fairness does not come into it.

  5. The Vancouver skytrain is driverless system, but there are station customer service staff who are trained to drive the trains in case of emergency or system issues etc.
    The union successfully argued a while ago that they should be paid the same as a bus driver despite the fact that outside their training requirements most of them will rarely have to drive a train.
    As all the station attendants were trained to drive a train at the time the union also managed to block bringing in a new customer service/station attendant job description that did not have train driving training which obviously drives up costs and fares and taxes that subsidises the system as they have to pay all the station staff at the higher rates

  6. If you are one of the binwomen who took the extra money only to find out in hindsight it wasn’t extra should you get something to compensate you for all those unnecessary early mornings in the company of men?

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.