Water company faces backlash over timewasting on ‘woke men at work signs’
- Locals feel South West Water should focus on leaks and lifting the hosepipe ban
A leaky water company came under fire for worrying about its ‘Men at Work’ signs in a woke row.
South West Water says it will now review all its signs after The Equality Trust took umbrage at the warnings laid out for motorists in Exton, Devon, claiming they are sexist.
But locals and campaigners said it should focus more on leaks and lifting its near-year-long hosepipe ban. Earlier this year it was announced SWS were under investigation by the industry regulator over whether it accurately reported leaks and figures on how much water customers use.
Anti-woke culture campaigner Toby Young said: ‘The sign only needs to be changed if South West Water’s constructions teams working on the roads include women. Do they? I suspect not.
Anti-woke culture campaigner Toby Young (pictured) said: ‘The sign only needs to be changed if South West Water’s constructions teams working on the roads include women. Do they? I suspect not’
‘I expect very few women are offended by the signs.
‘Organisations like the Equality Trust are pretending to be offended to advance a woke political agenda.’
There was, however, some support from residents with one saying: ‘I would rather see “people or teams at work”.’
But another replied on social media: ‘It is shorthand for watch out there’s a potential danger and you need to be careful.’
Priya Sahni-Nicholas, co-executive director at the Equality Trust, said: ‘It is a reminder of the consistent – and persistent – undervaluing of women, especially in the world of work.’
She said ‘messages like men at work is something everyone should be aware of’.
‘Is anybody valuing your mum’s work, is anybody valuing your sister’s work or your daughter’s?’ she added.
‘How will your wives’ and girlfriends’ work be valued – how is your friend’s work being valued?
‘Although it is bad that these signs are out there, it is great that people are sitting up and getting jarred by them and having conversations about it.
‘People like my mum who’ve been campaigning for women’s equality since the 1970s, would be really pleased.’
A South West Water spokesman said: ‘We are absolutely committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, with colleagues from all backgrounds, genders and ethnicities.’
Referring to the signs with their logo, the spokesman said: ‘We are currently reviewing all of our signage to ensure it aligns with our business values and will look into this specific report.’
The spokesman added that Pennon, the plc owning South West Water, has a ‘current representation figure which is just over 32 per cent women and almost 68 per cent men’.
‘However we are taking steps to increase female representation in our workforce.
‘Pennon was recognised in the FTSE Women Leaders Review as a leading business for female representation for the second year in a row, achieving first place in the utilities sector.
‘Pennon is one of only a few FTSE 250 companies with both a female CEO and Chair.’
In April, South West Water extended a hosepipe ban until December – after the wettest March in 42 years.
Meanwhile, owners Pennon paid a huge £112million dividend to shareholders despite being fined £2.15million in April for dumping sewage.
Chris Hood, 30, from Plympton, said: ‘South West Water need to focus on lowering prices and sorting the hosepipe ban, not this rubbish.’
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