‘This should be a proud day for these women’

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THE victory for 400 school cooks, classroom assistants and other relatively low-paid women workers in their equal pay battle with the city council has to be welcomed.

There are few principles which strike such a deep chord with us as that motto of the Labour movement a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

These women have worked hard for many years in our schools and in other caring environments without getting their just rewards.

The fact this happened simply because of their gender only serves to add insult to injury.

Some have waited seven years for this day. Today, as they look forward to average payouts believed to be in the region of £50,000, there will be no champagne corks popping.

This is not some kind of lucky windfall that has landed in their laps, it is the putting right of a historic injustice that has seen them earn less than men working in jobs “of equal value” as the result of years of custom and practice.

It is understandable that some of these women will feel the council’s decision to contest earlier court rulings in their favour unnecessarily dragged out their case.

We only hope that now this settlement is reasonable enough to make these women feel that justice has finally been done. And that at the same time the council can walk away without undue fears about the impact that these payouts will have on its strained finances.

Above all, however, this should be a proud day for those women who stood up for their rights and finally got their just desserts.

Sign of the times

Of course the city’s economic development leader Tom Buchanan wants the electronic signs on the bypass to stop telling drivers that Princes Street is closed for fear of putting off shoppers. He wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t.

But we can see a couple of problems. Firstly the signs are intended to convey important traffic information. Changing the message to “Princes Street is closed but all the shops are still open and the traffic is really not that bad” is only likely to cause pile-ups. Secondly, who exactly is driving along the bypass with so little idea of where they are going that they are likely to be swayed into an about turn to West Lothian? We’re afraid we’ll all have to face facts – it’s not a couple of signs that are putting off shoppers, it’s the ongoing tram works. Until this latest phase is finished, some would say the most appropriate message would be “come back in July”.