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Employers Crying Wolf Again: On Pay Equity

MEDIA RELEASE

26 September 2002
Employers Crying Wolf Again:
This Time On Pay Equity

“Business NZ and EMA Northern are crying wolf on pay equity and their extravagant claims have as little substance as their disproven horror scenarios against employment relations and osh law reform,” Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.

“If these employer organisations are opposed to measures to end gender pay discrimination they should come clean and say so,” Ross Wilson said.

“In the real world there are many employers who are concerned about the undervaluing of work traditionally done by women.”

Ross Wilson said a very good example was workers looking after elderly people in rest homes, hospitals and in their private homes.

“Most caregivers working in aged care have not received a wage increase in seven years,” he said.

“There is over 40% turnover rate amongst these workers. Employers have enormous difficultly recruiting and then retaining staff, and ultimately this must have an impact on the quality of care.

“Unions, employers, and advocacy groups for older people all agree caregivers' work is undervalued and we are working together, with government, to improve labour standards and quality of care in the industry.”

Media reports today by BusinessNZ and the EMA (Northern) suggest that the
Department of Labour is proposing that a worker can make an equal pay claim
demanding to be paid the same as an equivalent worker in another workplace.

“These statements are confusing because they give the inaccurate impression that the Equal Pay Act requires all workers to be paid the same,” he said.

“The overall purpose of the Equal Pay Act is really clear – it is focussed on the crucial task of eliminating pay discrimination.”


ENDS

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