The Trade Union Congress of Britain is to pass a motion demanding ban on high-heeled shoes in the workplace, saying they are both sexist and a health hazard.
They insist that female workers should sport 'sensible shoes' no more than an inch high to avoid injuries and long-term foot and back problems.
AdvertisementWhile heels might be vaunted on the catwalk, many women feel compelled to totter around in vertiginous shoes to do high-powered jobs, the union bosses contend.
At the next month's annual conference, members will debate the motion: 'Congress believes high heels may look glamorous on the Hollywood catwalks but are completely inappropriate for the day-today working environment.'
TUC officials have in the past condemned high heels as 'blatantly sexist' and the latest motion highlights their effects on women's health.
Union chiefs warned that women who work for airlines, City banks and West End department stores are forced to wear high heels, even though they are unsuitable.
The motion adds: 'Feet bear the brunt of daily life, and for many workers prolonged standing, badly fitted footwear, and in particular high heels can be a hazard. Around two million days a year are lost through sickness as a result of lower limb disorders.
'Wearing high heels can cause long-term foot problems, such as blisters, corns and calluses, and also serious foot, knee and back pain. More needs to be done to raise awareness of this problem.'
It has even published a safety in heels guide for employers declaring: 'Heels should have a broad base and be no higher than 4cm (1.5 in) ... if worn for long stretches no higher than 2cm (0.8 inch).'
But high-flying women said the motion was patronising. Former Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry said: 'I'm at work in five-inch heels and perfectly able to do my job. Heels are sexy, they boost your confidence and they are empowering to women. Anyway wearing heels is a personal choice.'
Tory MP Nadine Dorries said the extra height can help women in the workplace. She added: 'I'm 5ft 3in need every inch of my Christian 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.
She added acidly, 'The TUC need to get real, stop using overtly sexist tactics by discussing women's stilettos to divert attention away from Labour chaos.'
But a supporter of the move retorted, "The TUC is not looking to ban high heels from the workplace but rather ban employers from forcing women to wear them as part of a uniform. When it comes to jobs that involve being on your feet all day I am sure there will be many women who welcome this move."