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Disbanding Of Pay Equity Taskforce Seriously Backward Step

The disbanding of the Public Service Commission’s pay equity taskforce takes Aotearoa New Zealand workers back at least a decade and shows an utter disregard for fairness at work and the value of women’s work, says Chris Abercrombie, PPTA Te Wehengarua president.

Pay equity is about ensuring the same pay for work requiring similar levels of skills and responsibilities.

Chris Abercrombie says there has been a lot of great progress made with pay equity over the last few years, including for large groups of workers such as aged care workers and nurses.

Disbanding the taskforce would make it more difficult for workers to raise pay equity claims, and for the claims currently in progress to reach completion. One of these is the teachers’ pay equity claim, covering more than 90,000 workers across the education sector – from early childhood through to secondary, including English language and Māori language schools and kura. The teachers’ pay equity claim is currently in the assessment phase, where data is being analysed and comparators are being sought.

“If the Public Service Minister genuinely believes that government agencies can take on the taskforce’s work, given the significant cuts to their organisations, she is dreaming. We understand proposed cuts at the Ministry of Education, for example, will reduce their ability to continue the pay equity work they have been doing already - let alone take on more responsiblities.”

“The taskforce has made a huge contribution towards addressing the unfair practice of paying feminised professions less because of a historical undervaluing of the work that women do. We were beginning to see the putting right of serious imbalances in how people were paid based simply on their gender.

“The axing of the taskforce will also leave a serious gap in knowledge, experience and support for employers, Ministers and communities.”

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