The other day someone told me a story of how things once were for many women in employment.
The story concerned a middle aged woman who started work as a cleaner in a medium sided fashion
store. She cleaned the building every morning for three hours then went home to care for her two
children coming from school.
In time the store was expanding so she got her employers two more cleaners who she knew needed the work and the money. The clerk in the office told her that with the new NHS being formed it was
wise to pay what was termed the big stamp-this meant that she would get a pension of her own and not
be reliant on her husbands pension. Her wages it seemed were not large about £3 per week and the stamp was a big chunk out of that. But she looked at the arguement and thought it worthwhile since her husband was a labour and though money was very short-the future mattered.
The other Cleaners did not pay the “big stamp”, so took home more money and also cost the firm less in payments for the said insurance stamps. All this was apparent when the time came and the firm was took over. The new owners decided that the original Cleaner was too expensive to employ since she cost them more in insurance stamp payments. So after working for the firm more than 10 years she was dismissed, no payment in leiu or redundency or firms pension.

Things have changed alot for women even in the lowest paid jobs since this true story was being lived. There have been regulations regarding lots of the problems this woman encountered and protection though not complete is thought of for part time workers and full time workers.
For how long is a further question which I am sure her grandchildren if she has some might now be
wondering. Conditions described exist in many countries and are even worse. Perhaps we should be looking at improving those, not copying them.

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