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Pay equity scheme 'completely unacceptable'

Pay equity scheme 'completely unacceptable'

Business NZ says it is completely unacceptable to set up a pay equity scheme - run by unions and the state sector - that will inevitably impose large costs on the private sector.

Business NZ Executive Director Anne Knowles says the pay equity proposals for the public sector will have an automatic flow-on effect on those doing exactly the same work in the private sector.

"While nurses in public hospitals may get pay increases because of an artificial comparison with police, this will have a profound impact on the ability of, for example, private nursing homes for the elderly to stay in business.

"Similarly, many private schools will struggle as a result of any arbitrary pay equity interventions on behalf of state sector teachers.

"This proposal will clearly impact on the private sector - the Minister acknowledges as much by calling it a 'model' for other sectors.

"Pay equity as instituted by the Labour Government in the 1980s was recognised as an inhibiting factor on business growth and the economy, and as a result was one of the first pieces of legislation overturned when the National Government came into power in 1990.

"The proper focus should be on equal employment opportunities for everyone regardless of sex, race or religion, and education for both employers and employees to recognise and accept the benefits of a diverse workforce. To try and reintroduce the failed policies of the past shows a lack of recognition of commercial reality, and will only harm the economy," Ms Knowles said.

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