More ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ lunacy – our thanks to Ian for this. Take a minute or two to checkout (ahem) some of the perceptive comments.
At Asda, 60% of checkout operators are women, while 80% of warehouse operatives are men. A law firm is claiming the work of the former is equivalent to the latter, and seeking equal pay.
This is sheer lunacy. I break my groceries shopping into two or three weekly shops, often at a local Tesco. I scan the items through myself, because (a) there’s rarely a queue to use the self-service machines, and (b) I find it’s quicker. The latter is an indication of how ‘skilled’ the work of a checkout operator is.
My first job after leading university, in 1979 – the same glorious years Margaret Thatcher was first elected, the first of three general elections in which I voted for her – was as a manufacturing graduate trainee with Beecham, at what was then the largest toiletries factory in Europe, in Maidenhead – known locally as ‘The Brylcreem Factory’. The programme lasted over two years. and over that period I spent time in a wide variety of departments including Goods Inwards and Despatch. The work in those departments could involve taking goods from lorries (or putting them onto lorries) in the depths of winter or the height of summer. The managers of those departments always relished putting their graduate trainees to work outside in the coldest weather, I recall. It could be physically demanding work, and often entailed unsocial hours. Many of the workers operated fork lift trucks and similar expensive bits of equipment, both a skilled job, and one where great care had to be taken not to injure (or kill) people.
The idea that such jobs are equivalent to those of checkout operators is absurd beyond belief. If women want the higher pay that warehouse operatives get, then they should do those jobs. It really is that simple. Nobody is stopping them. It won’t take them long to realise the jobs are a damned sight more demanding and skilled than sitting on their backsides, passing bags of crisps over a sheet of glass, and checking that a ‘beep’ has registered a sale. Hell, it took me one minute to learn how to do that job, and I manage to do it standing up.