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Dealing with pay equity too hard for Government

Carol
BEAUMONT

Women’s Affairs Spokesperson

25 June 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT

Dealing with pay equity too hard for Government

Labour is backing a call by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner for the Government to set targets to close the gender pay gap in the public sector.

“Jackie Blue’s call comes hot on the heels of a recent Ministry of Education report showing that New Zealand women earn thousands of dollars less than their male counterparts in the five years after graduation,” Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says.

“National’s track record on pay equity is appalling. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs does not include it as a measure for greater economic independence, while the Minister of Labour Simon Bridges has consigned it to the ‘too hard’ basket, suggesting at a recent select committee hearing that pay equity was a complex matter that the Court would have to grapple with.

“Women on very low wages, such as school support staff and aged care workers deserve better than that.

“There are serious structural problems in the employment market that work against women achieving pay and employment equity.

“Low and unequal pay affects women’s lifetime earnings, their financial independence, family incomes and ability to save for retirement.

“Proposed changes to collective bargaining will also have a negative effect on women workers and their ability to achieve fairer pay. Cutely Mr Bridges, who is championing these changes, has also recently suggested that ‘pay equity claims are best resolved by employers and employees (and their representatives) themselves through the bargaining process or other negotiations’.

“The Government has a legal responsibility to be a good employer.

“Labour will address pay and employment inequality, starting with an immediate lift in the minimum hourly wage rate followed by improved employment legislation and provision for pay equity claims to be addressed,” Carol Beaumont says.


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