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Little to celebrate for women under National

Carol Beaumont
Women’s Affairs Spokesperson
Associate Labour Spokesperson

26 May 2014

Little to celebrate for women under National

A Government review of its progress in supporting women not only highlights successful policies introduced by previous Labour Governments, but conveniently fails to point out that National is about to pull the plug on another the report identifies as a significant achievement, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says.

“A report, prepared for the UN by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, talks up the benefits of a ‘continuity of employment’ clause that protects some of our most vulnerable and lowest paid workers, such as cleaners and food preparation assistants.

“What it doesn’t talk up is the fact the Government is looking to dump that clause under planned changes to employment law.

“It is a sham to celebrate how this is helpful to women, while at the same time National is proposing to remove the protection.

“Not only that, but in the section on what National is doing to address barriers to women getting work examples provided by the Government are amendments to the Employment Relations Act in 2006, 2007 and 2008, initiated by a Labour Government, along with paid parental leave provision created in 2002 and extended by Labour in 2004 and 2006.

“Women workers have been significantly disadvantaged under the National Government.

“They are more likely to move in and out of the paid workforce due to family responsibilities, so are particularly vulnerable under the 90 day right-to-fire provision, while no action has been taken to lift the pay of women workers in occupations such as aged care or school support.

“Changes to the Employment Relations Act, which aim to undermine collective bargaining, will also have a negative effect on women both because there is clear evidence that collective bargaining benefits those on lower pay – where women are concentrated - and because large groups of women have their wages and conditions set across whole sectors, such as health and education.

“Labour is committed to building on our strong record and delivering real choice, real opportunity and real equality for all New Zealand women.”

ENDS

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