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Nurses Disappointed Govt Disregards Fairness

Media Release:
14th May 2009

Nurses Disappointed by Government’s Disregard for Fairness

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is disappointed that the government has decided to disestablish the Pay and Employment Equity (PaEE) Unit.

NZNO has worked closely with the unit to achieve fairness in the way that work is recognised and valued, especially the work performed by women. The unit has produced some excellent resources that employers can use to assess pay equity in their workplaces.

The closure of the unit is a signal of the government’s lack of commitment to addressing equal pay for work of equal value. Women workers are still paid, on average, 12% less than their male counterparts in similar roles performing similar work. There is clearly still a need for the unit to continue its work.

“NZNO has 43,000 members most of whom are women. The biggest gains made in recent years to reduce the gender related unfairness in nurses’ pay has come about through collective bargaining. However, in many areas we still have too many members, especially in aged care and Māori health workers in primary health care whose work continues to be undervalued” Industrial Advisor Glenda Alexander said.

“The importance of having a pay and employment equity unit funded by government is paramount to close the gender pay gap. The government needs to be looking at multiple strategies to support this work, including pay investigations and supporting pay equity claims by unions. NZNO is also very concerned that many other workers, such as education support workers, continue to be so unfairly paid. The perpetuation of this unfairness for large groups of workers doing important work is detrimental, not only to them and their families but also to New Zealand Society as a whole” Glenda Alexander said.


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