Female staff at Belfast taxi firm stage strike over gender pay gap
A Belfast taxi firm was picketed by workers yesterday over complaints of pay disparity.
Female administrative staff at Belfast Taxis on King Street said they had decided to take industrial action after "continued management inaction" on long-standing pay demands.
The company was also accused by the strikers of a poor attitude to female workers, with no females on the board or in full-time management, and with only one female driver out of 160 cabbies.
Belfast Taxis was contacted for a response but has declined to comment so far.
Speaking from the picket line at King Street, Unite regional officer Sean Smyth said he believed the management at Belfast Taxis had taken an "arrogant" approach to the complaints.
"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," he said.
"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."
Wednesday marked a deadline day set by the Government for companies in Britain - but not Northern Ireland - employing 250 or more people to report their gender pay gap details.
Ryanair was revealed as one of the worst offenders, with an average gender pay gap of 71.8%.
Women at Sports Direct, which employs 29,000 people, were also found to earn 6.3% less than men, and this was significantly worse when it comes to bonus payments.
It was still some way below the national average gap of 18.4%.
Companies who miss the deadline may face legal action including court orders and fines, but only after being given more than a month's grace period.
This week Minister for Women Victoria Atkins said those who attempted to hide embarrassing gender pay gaps would face the full force of the law.