Moya Greene writes:
Last night my husband and I watched Made in Dagenham. It is just as fresh and poignant and uplifting as it was when it first came out ten years ago.
It tells the story of the Ford women , the sewing machinists, who in 1968 surprised everyone including union bosses by striking for equal pay. They won!
Their insistance that the lower women’s wage was not fair because sewing car seat covers required as much skill as the jobs in the plant done by men. This sparked fierce debate everywhere,changed attitudes and finally the law. So in 1970 Britain passed the Equal Pay Act.
I’ve been thinking that one of the important back stories of this pandemic is how value gets ascribed to jobs and whole occupational groups.
How can it be right that the most essential workers in this lock-downed country are so lowly paid ?
Not always, but often they are women.. the nurses, the lab technicians, the test administrators, the medical records clerks, the care workers, the retail workers, the warehouse workers. Working long shifts, and now in the most stressful of circumstances.
We are grateful now, saying thank you .. good.. but maybe it is high time we paid them properly?
When this is over we need to have a Dagenham moment..take a considered look at this.
We would create a very different society if we did something unthinkable only yesterday, ..if we paid the nurses more , and the bankers less, .. if the fruit pickers and retail clerks in the grocery stores made as much as the insurance salesmen.
Just a thought…