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Courageous case highlights Govt inaction

Courageous case highlights Govt inaction

The landmark equal pay case launched in the employment court yesterday highlights the Government’s 19th Century thinking on the value of work performed by women, say Labour MPs Sue Moroney and Darien Fenton.

Kristine Bartlett, an aged care worker and SFWU member, is seeking a determination from the Employment Court as to whether her hourly pay rate of $14.32 meets the requirements of the Equal Pay Act and whether it is disproportionately low due to the industry being dominated by women workers.

Labour’s Women's Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney, who was at court supporting Ms Bartlett and her union, said the case spotlights a deep-seated bias which says that it’s okay to pay women less than men.

“That bias is encouraged by this Government’s inaction.

"Kristine Bartlett and her union are raising awareness around the issues National created when it shut down the Pay and Employment Equity Unit.

"The Minister of Women's Affairs, Jo Goodhew, says women should become plumbers and electricians if they want decent pay. That does nothing to address the gender pay gap or to better value female-dominated occupations.”

Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton says that instead of advocating for these issues the Government is writing laws to make it harder for women to be paid fairly for their hard work.

"If Labour Minister Simon Bridges has his way, Kristine's employer won't even have to negotiate with her and fellow workers to agree on pay.

"Labour will be watching the progress of this case closely to see what legislative measures may need to be taken to address gender fairness in the workplace," Darien Fenton said.


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