Women workers hit hardest by job cuts

JOB losses caused by massive spending cuts at Northumberland County Council have hit female workers hardest of all, according to figures released by the GMB public services union.

Almost 90 per cent of those axed by the unitary authority following the 2010 General Election were women – 1,213 of 1,351 staff – making it the highest figure for any council in the North East.

In the first quarter of last year, Northumberland employed 9,197 women, compared to 3,106 men – a ratio of roughly three-to-one.

But the disparity in job losses is almost 10-to-one, with only 138 men being laid off during that period.

Across the region, the total drop in the number of workers employed by councils was 11,040, of which 7,548 were women, equating to just over 68 per cent, which is slightly higher than the percentage for England and Wales, at just over 66 per cent.

The figures come from a new analysis by the GMB of official data for employment in local councils in England and Wales compiled by The Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Tom Brennan, GMB regional secretary, said: “The drop in the number of women employed in local government and state schools in the region accounts for more than two-thirds of the drop in numbers employed by these councils since the general election. This is a direct result of the government cuts in public spending. This was entirely predictable because the public sector employs more women than men.

“The drop in the number of women employed in the public sector means a serious loss of income from employment to women in the North East region. Many households depend on having income from two wage-earners to pay the mortgage and the household bills.

“The impact will be even worse in the quarter of households with children that are headed by lone parents, 90 per cent of whom are women.

“The squandering of human talent through unemployment is a crime that will haunt future generations.”