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Women likely to bear brunt of cutbacks

Once again, the lowest paid are bearing the brunt of Government cutbacks, as witnessed by the proposed downgrading of 120 medical secretaries' posts, with a further 50 posts being made redundant.

These are not the highly-paid NHS management posts so often the object of criticism. Rather, they are of the 'over-worked and underpaid' variety - and almost exclusively staffed by women.

As the public sector cutbacks bite, women - who make up a large proportion of the public sector workforce - will continue to be disproportionately affected by them.

Today, most households require two salaries, just to keep afloat. Too often, the woman's salary is the only one coming into the household.

Therefore, the days when women's jobs where viewed as providing 'pin money' are long gone. The trust may perceive these workers to be 'the line of least resistance'.

I do not doubt that they will prove to be anything other than the opposite.

ANGELA WATSON

Women's officer, Constituency Labour Party in Northern Ireland

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