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Court decision opens door to more legal action

23 August 2013

Court decision opens door to more legal action against sexist pay

The Public Service Association is hailing a court decision which it says will open the door to further legal action in the fight to end sexist-based pay.

In a case taken by the Service and Food Workers Union, the Employment Court has found that the low pay of caregiver Kristina Bartlett is the result of gender discrimination under the Equal Pay Act.

The PSA says it’s a hugely significant decision with far-reaching implications for thousands of women who work in low paid occupational groups.

“This decision gives women a long-awaited legal mechanism to address what has been historical gender pay discrimination in occupations which are female-dominated,” says National Secretary Brenda Pilott

“It is also a big step in terms of getting rid of the notion of ‘women’s work’ and reinforces the fact that equal pay is a basic human right.”

The PSA will now consider how the court ruling can be applied to low paid members who work in home support as well as public sector administration and clerical roles.

“There is a lot of work ahead but this is a great weapon in the fight against pay inequity. We will now be looking at taking cases under both the Equal Pay Act and the 1960 Government Service Equal Pay Act,” Brenda Pilott says.

“At a time when this government has brushed pay and employment equity aside and failed to take any action to close the gender pay gap, the importance of this case should not be underestimated.”

“It should send a strong message to the government and employers about the need to provide adequate funding so that low paid women are not discriminated against and get the pay they deserve,” she says.


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