At My Workplace!
Equal Opportunity and Pay!
It is all so easy and there is always this tendency to always criticise and blame others in life – but we always do forget about ourselves in the equation and in doing so! We find scapegoats in others’ behaviours, attitudes and approaches to cover ourselves – that we are perfect, right, correct, ethical, transparent and professional – when in truth and reality we are not!
I was watching this film – Made in Dagenham a 2010 British film that dramatises the car company Ford (UK) sewing machinists strike of 1968 that aimed for equal pay for women. It
all began in the Ford motor plant in Dagenham where women workers, originally disgruntled about a new pay scheme that classed them as unskilled, finally took umbrage at the fact that they were paid far less than their male counterparts for doing the same work. The plot starts with the main character one Rita O’Grady leading the 1968 Ford sewing machinists strike at the Ford Dagenham plant – where female workers walk out in protest against sexual
discrimination and the desire for equal pay.
It is successful and leads to the famous UK Equal Pays Act 1970 – though it shows the hardships and the repercussions of families – and as a result of the strike. The shocking part for me was the attitudes and the approaches of the head offices executives of the company
threatening an executive Minister of the state (herself a woman!). They were ready to close down the factory rather than giving in to the women strikers – and that they will move the factory to ‘other places where they will be appreciated instead’!
The film had very bad memories and connotations for me in many aspects. It reminded me that even our very own peoples do not appreciate and value us equally compared to others outsiders – and not with the local talents, expertise, skills, innovation, abilities and capabilities. That was the main reason for the collapse of my consultancy firm when the international contractor was paid three times what we were paid – yet the work was split in half – and we handled the junior levels where there were more miseries and problems.
Yet still in our jobs of Human Resources we always still find this discrimination in payment of salaries – despite those that do practise these continuing calling themselves as still righteous decent correct ethical and professional peoples – which is the more shocking part! Comments like – he is from such and such a place – and that salary is too high for them – even their CEOs at home do not get paid that much! Or even if an experienced and qualified local – ‘take it or leave it’ offer – but not for others in the equation.
As a Human Resources Professional and Official you have two choices – go with the orders and instructions given – or be ready to be sidelined and be marginalised if you raise any protests or stand up to be counted – or even be ready to move out and or leave! And if you go along without any remorse, compunction, conscience or guilt – the rewards are very forthcoming! Why worry about God now – you will only meet Him when you die – and that will still be some time to come yet!
It is not only this – but there are still some ‘Old Guards’ still found in some quarters – in both locals and expatriates – that would think twice – if not more times! – of recruiting the ladies in non-traditional roles reserved for them at the workplace in jobs like in Administration, Secretarial, Nursing, lower ends in Accounts and in Finance, and in Hospitality etc! A woman doctor? A woman engineer? A woman CEO? A woman head in anything (big)! You must be joking! Please be serious, man! Take your job seriously! What is wrong with you? Ironically, the man has daughters at home – sisters too – that he surely would not want to be discriminated against!
As I had said before – the film has still very bad memories for me! Take Care!
By: – Majid Al Suleimany.