Female workers picket Black Taxis headquarters on King Street after continued management inaction on longstanding pay demands
Questions over community interest company bosses’ attitude to women workers with no females on Board, in full-time management staff and only one female driver in a hundred and sixty
March 4th: Speaking from the picket line at King Street, Unite Regional Officer, Sean Smyth, was scathing of the high-handed approach taken by management at Belfast Taxis over a longstanding pay dispute with their female admin workers.
“This pay dispute has been ongoing for several weeks and Unite has twice postponed strike action in an attempt to find a reasonable accommodation with management. Unfortunately throughout this dispute and even before, the arrogant attitude of bosses to its unionised workforce has been nothing short of disgraceful. They appear completely unwilling to address the concerns of their female admin workers and are haughtily dismissive of their legitimate demands for the first pay increase in many years.
“Last week, company bosses put up fake-news notices attempting to undermine the solidarity of drivers towards the striking workers. As a result and following the complete failure by management to engage positively, today’s strike action will be continuous until the workers’ concerns are addressed.
“On a day when the gender pay gap figures for thousands of British companies are dominating the news, the behaviour of management at Belfast Taxis is cast into sharp relief. The high-handed approach to these workers comes from a management team and a board who are entirely male in composition. Only one driver of one hundred and sixty working for this community interest company is female.
“Today in order to secure a fair pay increase, female administrative workers are engaging in all-out strike action. They have had to look on for years as full-time male staff have received pay increases and the all-male management have awarded themselves bonuses.
“We are calling on drivers to express their full solidarity with striking staff by refusing to cross picket lines. Now is the time for drivers to join Unite, the fightback union, to secure improvement in their own pay from this exploitative employer.
“We want to reiterate that this strike action can be halted if Belfast Taxi management returns to negotiations with a genuine pay offer addressing our members’ just demands”, Mr Smyth concluded.