Marion Spöring : Labour Women’s Conference Speech
I am speaking about the experience of women in Scotland who have been exposed to the austerity policies not only by the Tory government in Westminster, but also by the SNP government in Holyrood who have cut , reduced and attacked the rights of women and their families through their actions.
The welfare state that Labour built since 1945 and our public services are being eroded.
This experience is shared across the country, wherever we are.
I live in Dundee, a city famous for its strong women weavers and mill workers.
But what is the reality for working class women and their families ?
Unemployment and a workforce reduced to survive on increasingly part time work, zero hours contracts , low wages
Social care workers in Dundee who are overwhelmingly women were told that they were to be moved on to split shifts, with a reduction in hours which will mean loss on average of £4000 a year for already low paid workers.
Because of strong union representation , management were sent back to come up with alternative proposals.
Instead they have threatened the privatisation of services.
The trade unions involved balloted their members for industrial action and got an 80 percent turnout and with more than 80 percent in favour of industrial action.
This shows the determination of women.
Just in the last few months 800 workers at the Michelin plant found out that their plant will close, 1200 NHS workers jobs , (10 percent of the total workforce. ) on Tayside will be lost, construction companies are closing.
The City Council amongst others in the country are forcing through so called savings to their budgets.
This means job losses, and cuts to already hard pressed services.
Dundee has high rates of child poverty, drug abuse and health problems, the highest rate of unemployment in Scotland and one of the lowest levels of pay.
Women are disproportionately affected by this.
Dundee is not alone in this.
It does not matter which city or region it is .
What they have in common is the root of the problems .
It is the policy of austerity, forcing poverty and deprivation on our communities.
It is capitalism which is is imposing hardship and deprivation .
It is the parties which try to tell us that the solution to poverty is more cuts and privatisation .
The solution is to get a government which puts first the interest of the public, the people, the communities .
We need to work together with trade unions to put the truly socialist core principles of the Labour Party into practice under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
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