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Union strike will harm women and families

Monday, November 28 2011

Sayeeda Warsi

Sayeeda Warsi, Co-chairman of the Conservative Party has written to UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis, calling on the union leader to cancel this Wednesday's planned strike because of the damaging effect it will have on women and families up and down the UK.

This follows Mr Prentis' claims that women were be the driving force behind the strike action.

In her letter, Baroness Warsi said:

"This week you claimed that women will be the driving force behind next week's planned strike action. I wholeheartedly disagree. If these irresponsible strikes go ahead, they will not be driven by women - they will actually disadvantage women.

"It is very clear that planning these strikes is wrong, especially when negotiations are ongoing. You claim that women make up a large proportion of people who voted for strike action, but you fail to admit the fact that only a quarter of members - men or women - actually voted for strikes.

"These strikes are expected to cost the economy half a billion pounds, but more importantly they will disrupt family routines and cost the hardworking taxpayer money.

"I would go further to say that such strikes will disproportionately affect women. After all, who is more likely to have to stay off work while their children's teachers strike? Who is more likely to be affected by disruption of public services? Whose jobs will be more at risk from the necessary time off? It is women who will bear the brunt.

"The pensions offer being put to the unions is a generous offer; one that protects the lowest paid public sector workers, many of whom are women, and one which many in the private sector look at with envy.

"Most important of all, as a wife and a mother, I strongly believe that if you ask parents whether it's better to make savings now in order to build a better future for their children, then the vast majority of fair-minded, right-thinking people would choose their children. We must remember that the pension arrangements agreed by our generation will come out of the next generation's taxes.

"So this is not a women's strike. It is your strike and it is an irresponsible strike, which will unfairly impact upon people right across the country. I urge you to think again about your action, unless you want to disadvantage many women and their families."

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