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Rapid Response Needed for Pay Equity

13 May 2004

Rapid Response Needed for Pay Equity

The Government’s response to the Pay and Employment Equity Taskforce report shows that it is prepared to take action immediately to close the gender pay gap within the state sector, Council of Trade Unions vice-president Helen Kelly said today.

Unions in the public health, education and public service sectors were represented on the taskforce which was set up to find ways to achieve pay equity in these areas.

Unions welcomed the completed taskforce report and the Government’s immediate commitment to set up the Pay and Employment Equity Unit, and called on the Government to begin implementing the other taskforce recommendations.

“The taskforce report shows a bigger gender pay gap in the state sector than the private sector and the taskforce recommendations will, if implemented, fix this,” Helen Kelly said.

“It’s important that the Government, as a large employer of women, is seen to be getting its own house in order by paying women fairly for the work they do,” she said. “This is necessary given the persistent gender pay gap and the undervaluing of women’s skills in a time of labour market shortages.”

Unions would continue to be involved as the pay equity strategy was put in place, and would push for work to be done on the pay gap in the private sector, Helen Kelly said.

“We will also press for action on the report’s recommendations, such as the need for a legal remedy where employers refuse to deal with an issue contributing to the gender pay gap.

“We want the right to equal pay for work of equal value to be enforceable, as required under international conventions which New Zealand has ratified,” Helen Kelly said.

ENDS

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