Neelam Verma today (Monday September 25) represented Unite speaking on the National Policy Forum Work, pensions and equality annual report.
She said, “On Saturday I was able to speak to the fantastic Women’s Conference in the economic debate.”
“It’s hardly believable that in 2017 the economy is still seen as the preserve of men – making serious decisions about how our economy works – the underlying structure that shapes our society – is not a ‘women’s issue’,” said Verma.
Verma warned there is no more fundamental ‘woman’s issue’ than what as a society we decide to spend money on – what public services, what benefits, who has access to them, the jobs we create, the jobs we don’t and the value that is placed on women’s work.
“The wages we earn, and those we don’t because of discrimination, the freedom and opportunities we have through well-funded public services,” said Verma.
“For those who still say the economy is the preserve of men they obviously haven’t come across our own Becky Long Bailey and Chi Onwurakh who formulated our industrial strategy,” she added.
Varma highlighted the contrast between the women in our shadow cabinet who want to strengthen equality, make in work poverty a thing of the past and liberate women from low pay and the Prime Minister Theresa May.
“[May is] a woman who certainly does not champion other women,” said Verma.
“Because of this government’s actions, our incomes, our economic independence and our opportunities have been cut and curtailed. Too many of us are amongst the lowest paid in the country and in insecure work,” she added.
This Conservative government says that the employment figures are higher than ever but when those jobs are precarious, zero hours, in part-time work when women want to work more hours, when they don’t pay the living wage, then it is a con trick.
“Well we in Labour are not falling for it,” said Verma.
“We’re not going to put up with low pay, we are going to ban zero-hour contracts and we’re going to abolish employment tribunal fees,” she added.
She went on to say, “Just imagine this – instead of the spiteful political choice of austerity we are committed to fixing the shambolic Universal Credit, scrapping the dreaded bedroom tax and repealing the mean Personal Independent Payment regulations.”
Labour wants to not only end the austerity attack on women but to reverse it and take us closer to equality.
“We want an economy that works for us,” said Verma.
“Conference, we all know it is only a Labour government that can deliver these real gains for women. It’s why we are in permanent campaign mode to deliver victory at the next election which can’t come a moment too soon. Thank you,” she added.
See Neelam’s speech below