Wednesday, October 04, 2006

There may be....

trouble ahead. Have a look at http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1699559&issue_id=14722 and tell me what you think? And before anyone asks I don't know what to think about it. On the one hand as a self-employed woman I feel I don't have to worry about these issues, on the other hand what happens to families-not just women- when wages are cut and doesn't it effect us all in the long run? Will this cause people to put off having children all together? What then?
Very troubling.
UPDATE -Becasue I'm so la-di-da chumly warner for ya all.

WOMEN'S groups have slammed as "blatantly sexist" a European court ruling which says employers can pay women less than their male colleagues if they have taken time off to look after their children.

The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) warned last night that the decision by the European Court of Justice would undo 50 years of struggle for equal pay and rights.

The ruling cannot be appealed and is now part of Irish law, although it has yet to be tested.

Joanna McMinn, director of the NWCI, described the ruling as legalising discrimination against women.

"It's very interesting to see that even equal pay legislation can be picked away like this. It means the gains women have made over the last 30 to 50 years are being undone.

"It shows that we should not be complacent when it comes to women's rights and that they need to be protected. There is a backlash against women's equality and this is being seen worldwide."

But the ruling will not be a blow only to women. Men will also be discouraged from taking paternity leave as they fear a loss of earnings, warned Dr McMinn.

Yesterday's landmark ruling, which has taken five years to reach, said employers do not have to justify, on a case-by-case basis, pay structures based on length of service unless a worker can show evidence of explicit unfairness"

See, trouble.

23 Comments:

Blogger Andraste said...

That link only shows the blogger icon for inserting a link. Is there a news story? Hep me, HEP me!

2:28 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Dammit, hang on there.

2:42 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Does that one work?

4:29 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

It went to the Irish Independent page, but you have to sign in as a member to read the story. La-di-da.

5:27 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Okay, I'm going to paste it.

5:33 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

Okay, they do let you look at a PDF of the front page, so I read the relevant bits.

Jesus. Talk about ten steps backwards... Blatantly sexist? You bet your sweet arse!

I can't believe in this day and age....

5:38 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

This is beyond ridiculous. It shows a real failure to understand how the world works. Simply put our society is dependent on refreshing itself with new blood, wheter by birth or immigration. Everything from flows from this. Without the population there is less money going around, less profit, and tax revenue. I'm sure I don't need to spell out the consequences of all this. This means we have to place a high priority on having kids, and those who care for them, male or female. Given the low birth rates in Europe this isn't a matter of equality as much as it is a matter of survival. When you include the growing influence of Islam in Europe, this is also the only way to preserve European Elnlightment culture.
Also as FMC has allowed me to say in previous comments, people with kids tend to be more dedicated to security, more likely to work hard and go home, less likely to change jobs constantly.
And these are only the financial arguments...
As we would say in Limerick - what a bunch of fucking stupid langers! Shortsighted stupid langers!!!

5:53 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

See? I find this deeply troubling and I've had a glance at a few of the other blogs I thought would think so too and nowt.
This cannot go unnoticed. This cannot just 'slip' into Irish law.
Before anyone gets their knickers into a twist-not you JOhn I suspect you're a comando kind of guy-I'm trying to understand the baby/employment commitments from all angles.
Yesterday on Newstalk there was a small employer on who employed six staff and three of his ladies are pregnant and requiring leave soon. This man is losing 50percent of his work force and will now be forced to retrain part-time folk in their absence to cope. Why does he not get some kind of government subsidy?
If we punish people for creating the next generation what does that say about us? Where will it end and what is to be done?
All debate welcomed.

6:01 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

If the law is applied strictly to women only, the way around it would be to have the man stay home and care for the baby, while the woman goes back to work. There are practical reasons (breastfeeding) etc. why this might not be possible, and I'm not sure how many men would be willing to do it t be honest. And that's not forgetting the fact that it is a crap idea, generally speaking, (I mean, she's really going to want to take a few days off to have the baby and get right back to work with her swollen boobs and tummy, and aching for her baby - hardly ideal) and yet that is the position many Irish families have now been put in if they want to maintain a steady income.

This is a really sneaky way of passing a regressive law. I can understand the whole Celtic Tiger thing of wanting to boost small businesses as much as possible, but I think by chasing efficiency and money too much, they've taken their eyes off the prize: a prosperous Ireland with desirable workplace practices where a content workforce is happy to give their all.

Countries like Sweden, where people regularly poll as the most content in the world, have excellent government compensated maternity benefits for a mother to take as much as a 9 month fully paid maternity leave. The Swedish government values the fact that (1) happy workers are better workers; (2) people should not face any additional financial barrier to having children (it's expensive enough, believe me)(3) the employer should not be left in the lurch paying for an absent employee and that is where the government can step in and actually put its money where its mouth is.

6:24 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

If the law is applied strictly to women only, the way around it would be to have the man stay home and care for the baby, while the woman goes back to work. There are practical reasons (breastfeeding) etc. why this might not be possible, and I'm not sure how many men would be willing to do it t be honest. And that's not forgetting the fact that it is a crap idea, generally speaking, (I mean, she's really going to want to take a few days off to have the baby and get right back to work with her swollen boobs and tummy, and aching for her baby - hardly ideal) and yet that is the position many Irish families have now been put in if they want to maintain a steady income.

This is a really sneaky way of passing a regressive law. I can understand the whole Celtic Tiger thing of wanting to boost small businesses as much as possible, but I think by chasing efficiency and money too much, they've taken their eyes off the prize: a prosperous Ireland with desirable workplace practices where a content workforce is happy to give their all.

Countries like Sweden, where people regularly poll as the most content in the world, have excellent government compensated maternity benefits for a mother to take as much as a 9 month fully paid maternity leave. The Swedish government values the fact that (1) happy workers are better workers; (2) people should not face any additional financial barrier to having children (it's expensive enough, believe me)(3) the employer should not be left in the lurch paying for an absent employee and that is where the government can step in and actually put its money where its mouth is.

6:24 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

Actually - my last comment was definitely more geared towards the overview especially large corporations. There defo has to be some slack with small employers. Common sense and pragmatism should always prevail.

Commando ??

6:27 p.m.  
Anonymous Devin said...

Sweet Buggery Fuck!Is this for real? What next? Some Taliban TD's to get the ball really rolling? It's rare that I get snapped back by the goings on back home but this one has me all "What The Fuck People?" There needs to be some serious aggro over this but I suppose the reality will be token resistance at best.Wait a sec...fuck.."Lost" is on..later.
PS John-Commando means going without the undies but as your from Limerick it could also mean those 64 page mini-comics we'd get from that scabby second hand book store on High St.

8:07 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You know what I mean.
Evening Sam. If this law is passed here many two income families are up shit's creek without a financial paddle as the interest rates on mortgage rates rose recently and childcare is astronomically high.
Birth rates are already low in Europe, I cannot not see this as an incentive for more families to produce offspring if they are penalised.
I find it interesting to note certain right wing blogs are almost gleeful about this news, as in 'well women in the work force, what do they expect? If they stayed home and just did women things like mind the kids and keep house they wouldn't ahve to worry about two incomes and childcare.' I think any mother who chooses to stay at home and rear her children is to be applauded, if that is what she chooses to do? But what of the women who don't? Is this what right minded people want? A slide back to the fifties, an era one income male breadwinners, of clean homes but pill-popping alcoholic deeply unhappy and angry women? Where choice has been stiffled in favour of economics?
This is very short sighted as most-not all- women in the workforce who suddenly find themselves with child leave a mister in the workforce, and if their shared income dips that will surely chaff somewhere else in the family dynamic.
No, I feel this is a very sly step in a conservative direction and frankly there has been too much of that lately for my liking.

8:22 p.m.  
Anonymous jim said...

The law won't be applied to women only, Sam. What the European Court said was that, generally speaking, an employer may justify a disparity between the salaries of two employees who do the same job, if one of the employees has a greater level of experience. The woman who took the case discovered that 4 male colleagues of hers earned more than she did, although they did the same job. The reason this was so was that the 4 men had been employed for longer periods then her. Their employer was the English Health and Safety Executive, I think. The court effectively reasoned that it is acceptable to reward an employee with a greater level of experience, on the basis that that particular employee can, in theory at least, do their job better as a result of greater experience.

As far as I'm aware, this ruling will have no bearing on a workers rights to parental leave. If, for example, myself and Cat are employed by a firm doing the same job, same responsibilities etc. Cat takes 6 months maternity leave, then returns to find that my salary has increased by virtue of the fact that i am now more experienced than her, then the company is guilty of discrimination. The company cannot use the fact that she was exercising her right to take maternity leave as justification to consider me more experienced. However if an employee decides to take time off to care for a sick relative, write a novel, travel the world, these are cases where this ruling may apply. Gender was not raised as an issue in the judgement, it merely said that an employer may pay two different employees different salaries based on thier relative levels of experience.

8:50 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

duh! Now I geddit. That commando! I am a little slower on the uptake these days. Devin, in my part of Limerick doing a commando, meant running through from one suburban back garden the other starting at the first house and trying to make it back to the street at the end of the block. For some reason there were a lot of cops living in my 'hood which made the whole thing a little more interesting.

Back to the discussion at hand:

I don't get the logic that says that if you take 6 months off, (it's only 3 here in the States, so maybe that might be a solution - shortening the time), you fall behind in job knowledge. Ability and talent on the job are very individual. One person could take a year of and still be better at the job than someone of lesser talent who worked consistently. Its why this law makes no sense on any level. It's all about the individual, I would accept that if you can prove that someone suffered because of time off, (any time off), you should be allow compensate accordingly.
Again, my experience as a manager, is that women with kids who come back to work are often top performers, as long as the employer provides some flexibility.

9:53 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The women who get paid less than their male colleagues for taking time off to look after their babies would also be paid less than their female colleagues too.

Is it sexist now?

12:50 a.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Excellent question, Mister Major. I think though it has less to do with sexism (it's hard to believe it's intentional sexism although the effects of it might affect, say, single mothers more) and more to do with practicality and economics. People will have fewer children if the economic barriers against breeding more wee Irish nippers are raised too high.

Of course elsewhere in the world the population is exploding beyond the globe's ability to support us all. Without a native workforce Ireland would need to open itself up to immigration. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, I just think it's be a pity to lose too many Irish from the earth. You're a fine and storied lot and besides, who the hell else can people point to for being drunker than we Scots?

7:01 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

The Welsh?
I jest I jest. We do have a pretty growing immigration population here Sam, huge number of Polish in particular ands next year BUlgaria and Romania join the EU and will be free to emmigrate here too (if the open boarder continues but there are rumblings about that too).
Interesting question Twenty.
My sister Etheline practically foams at the mouth when mothers take a sick day or are late because of their children. Seriously, she can not tolerate it at all and wonders aloud why she should have to suffer becasue other people choose to ahve off spring. But you can be damn sure if Etheline has children of her own she will also foam at the mouth about her rights and how much tax she has paid over the years and how much money she pumps into the economy. It is an emotive issue.
Like I say, I"m self employed so my future finaces don't rise and fall on the strength of this ruling, but I can see how it effect a good number of people in this country.

9:23 a.m.  
Blogger oldcrow61 said...

This change in the law sounds Bloody ridiculous as far as I'm concerned. Women have enough struggles as it is.

11:57 a.m.  
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