No, the TUC is not banning high heels


2:00 am - August 8th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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Nadine Dorries MP says on her blog:

Don’t ya just love the TUC? Apparently, at their forthcoming conference, they want to debate a proposal to ban the wearing of high heels in the office. Can you hear the collective sharp intake of breath and the no noo nooo from all of British office working womankind?

I’m 5ft 3 and need every inch of my Louboutin heels to look my male colleagues in the eye. If high heels were banned in Westminster, no one would be able to find me.

For those subjected to regular uninformed tirades by Dorries, who recently declared that Trident was not a weapon of mass destruction, this may not entirely be a bad thing.

The TUC is not looking to ban high heels in the office.

The news story originated with the Torygraph – which has long had a vendetta against trade unions.

As Nicola Smith explains on the Touchstone blog:

To set the record straight the TUC couldn’t care less whether Nadine Dorries wears Louboutin or Clarks to work, our current policy, which is based on reducing long-term foot problems, is that employers shouldn’t require workers to wear uncomfortable or dangerous footwear. This includes a number of big city institutions and upmarket shops who insist female staff who deal with the public wear slip-on shoes or high heels as part of a dress code.

The new motion on heels has been been put forward to Congress by one of our affiliated unions – unsurprisingly it’s the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists – and calls specifically for:

all employers who have dress codes that promote high heels to examine the hazards their women workers face and ensure that proper risk assessments are carried out, and that where these show the wearing of high heels is hazardous the high heels should be replaced with sensible and comfortable shoes.

The idea that preventing women from being forced to wear unsuitable clothing to work is sexist is ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the idea that anti-abortion advocate Nadine Dorries is suddenly a champion of women’s rights.

Emphasis mine. It is amusing to watch Nadine Dorries stand up for the rights of women though.

You can read the full motion by the TUC here, which was in fact published last year.

So the BBC Today programme, which let Nadine Dorries go off in full flow, didn’t bother correcting the impression given by the Torygraph.

Even the Guardian, which should have known better, ran this comment piece by Jenni Russell taking this misleading article by the Daily Mail at face value. Clearly no one at the Guardian could be bothered to take 5 minutes and give the TUC a call and find out either.

Now, I expect the right-wing media to try and use disinformation to malign trade unions. I don’t expect left-liberal papers to do that. As for Nadine Dorries… well did you actually expect informed comment?

Update: Nicola Smith writes in to point out that

We already have a policy on heels, which is referenced from my post (the press release from last year). But there is also a new motion which will be debated at this year’s Congress in September. That is listed in the preliminary agenda, which you can download here: and if adopted would strengthen our existing position, giving us formal Congress policy on the issue.

It’s last week’s publication of the draft agenda and some half baked analysis of what the Chiropodists and Podiatrists union are actually calling for that has lead to the current media frenzy. So yes, we first raised the issue over a year ago but the current coverage is related to a new motion.

Thanks for clarifying that. Shame on our stupid media though.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Media ,Trade Unions

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Reader comments


: No Nadine Dorries, the TUC is not banning high heels http://bit.ly/WjMHV

2. Chris Baldwin

Don’t you love how they seem to think the TUC is a narrow interest group like the CBI rather than a body representing millions of workers?

The Mail also ran with this story, quoting a suitably outraged Apprentice winner ”This is absolutely ridiculous and I think these union officials should be spending their time dealing with more important issues.’ (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1204645/Why-womens-heels-high-union-bosses-agenda.html)

Strangely, just a year ago the Mail ran a story on how dangerous high heels are for your health, saying for example:
‘Many women also develop hammertoes, where tight-fitting shoes force them to crumple up their toes, shortening the muscles inside and leaving them permanently bent.’ (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1053601/High-heel-horrors-The-hidden-cost-body-crucial-extra-inches.html).

You’d almost think the Mail had some kind of anti-union agenda or something.

(Well spotted by Dave at http://thoughcowardsflinch.com/2009/08/07/liberal-intelligentsia-bad-for-your-health/)

tory mp misses the point..the future starts here!! RT @libcon: : No Nadine Dorries, the TUC is not banning high heels http://bit.ly/WjMHV

RT @libcon: : Anti-Choice, Antis Science, Anti- Vaccination – http://bit.ly/WjMHV – now Anti comfortable footware for women!

So the BBC Today programme, which let Nadine Dorries go off in full flow, didn’t bother correcting the impression given by the Torygraph.

Did Today invite her on to sound off without getting a TUC spokespeep in? This would’ve been a non-story with just 5 mins research. Watching the BBC being so easily led is painful.

RT @tweetmeme Liberal Conspiracy » No Nadine Dorries, the TUC is not banning high heels http://bit.ly/47K0nS

Don’t forget, the BBC is a left-wing institution that hates all conservatives!

No, Nadine Dorries, trade unions are not banning high heels – http://bit.ly/3wkyRJ (political correctness gone mad!)

RT @pickledpolitics: No, Nadine Dorries, trade unions are not banning high heels – http://bit.ly/3wkyRJ (political correctness gone mad!)

I loved the Jenni Russell piece – condemning a union health and safety motion of all things for ‘joyless utilitarianism’. I guess safety is just too much “to die of” and not enough “to die for” for Jenni’s liking.

Liberal Conspiracy » No, the TUC is not banning high heels http://bit.ly/mQSEt

13. Shatterface

My office bans shoes without backs on them on account that they would hinder women from running if a customer turns nasty. Me, I wear Doc Marten’s with steel toecaps and acid-proof soles. You never know what might happen.

John that video you did is excellent. Did they pay you to do that?

Thanks Sunny! No bonus I’m afraid ;) just lunch-break messing about to test out my new tripod (and several evenings racking brain to cut down text and still have it working both ways – couldn’t get it as short as I’d wanted sadly). Colleagues were very obliging in (mostly) shutting up whilst I filmed their copier, but don’t know if they’d be up for being a film location every week!

Good post Sunny, just blogged this story myself

http://rupahuq.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/putting-the-boot-in/

Thanks Sunny! No bonus I’m afraid just lunch-break messing about to test out my new tripod

inspired idea I thought. The unions should make it their promotional material TBH. But yeah, cutting it down might be an idea…

Say what you like about the burka, at least it’s not going to permanently deform your feet or break your ankle… But that’s different, right?

inspiring thought here..
i love it
ajay
Cash Online Get Easy cash at your door step

@T_P_W She’s not still on with that shit is she? http://bit.ly/mLEEB


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    : No Nadine Dorries, the TUC is not banning high heels http://bit.ly/WjMHV

  2. mervino

    tory mp misses the point..the future starts here!! RT @libcon: : No Nadine Dorries, the TUC is not banning high heels http://bit.ly/WjMHV

  3. Alan Thomas

    RT @libcon: : Anti-Choice, Antis Science, Anti- Vaccination – http://bit.ly/WjMHV – now Anti comfortable footware for women!

  4. Splintered Sunrise

    RT @tweetmeme Liberal Conspiracy » No Nadine Dorries, the TUC is not banning high heels http://bit.ly/47K0nS

  5. sunny hundal

    No, Nadine Dorries, trade unions are not banning high heels – http://bit.ly/3wkyRJ (political correctness gone mad!)

  6. Sadie Smith

    RT @pickledpolitics: No, Nadine Dorries, trade unions are not banning high heels – http://bit.ly/3wkyRJ (political correctness gone mad!)

  7. Rodney Randolph

    Liberal Conspiracy » No, the TUC is not banning high heels http://bit.ly/mQSEt

  8. Web links for 5th August 2009 | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC

    […] Fail. Daily Mail unsure how they stand on stilettos (geddit?) Paul Cotterill has unearthed this very interesting Daily Mail health warning on high heels from last year – looks like they […]

  9. ToUChstone blog

    Rupa Huq http://ow.ly/jEWX and @libcon http://ow.ly/jEX7 get their 2pworths in on Heelgate

  10. Eleanor Crawford

    @lauren0donnell good post! but she didn't try to ban heel-wearing, she pretended the TUC wanted to (they didn't). http://tinyurl.com/6dx4xne





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