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So much for equal employment opportunities

Carol BEAUMONT
Women’s Affairs Spokesperson

Darien FENTON
Labour Issues Spokesperson
Friday, 3 June 2011

So much for equal employment opportunities

The Government’s decision to axe 60% of the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust’s funding makes plain the bleak outlook marginalised workers face under National, says Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont, and Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton.

“Ensuring equal opportunities at work is clearly not on National’s agenda,” Carol Beaumont said.

“To date we have seen the Pay and Employment Equity Unit at the Department of Labour scrapped and Budget 2011 has revealed the Government will cut nearly 60% of funding for the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust,” Darien Fenton said.

“The EEO Trust actively promotes the value diversity brings to our workplaces. It plays a critical role in advocating for workers who too often go unaccounted for.

“Advocacy includes the annual Work and Life Awards, expansive research and the provision of learning opportunities through seminars and courses. In particular the Trust facilitates practical change by sharing examples of success among businesses,” Darien Fenton said.

“The EEO Trust had stable support from workers and employers alike. In promoting best practice the Trust recognised the need to ensure our workplaces are flexible and facilitate learning,” Carol Beaumont said.

“The work of the EEO Trust has particular relevance to women who are too often undervalued at work and who often carry the lion’s share of caring responsibilities at home.

“Ironically National has cut funding to the EEO Trust at the same time as promoting the work of the Early Childhood Education Taskforce which suggests the need for greater support for parents to get back into the paid workforce by the offering of flexible hours and remote working options.

“This is exactly what the EEO Trust has been promoting to employers, and this progress will be lost,” Carol Beaumont said.

“At the very time we need to lift workplace productivity and provide opportunities for all New Zealanders, National is cutting funding to an important vehicle for change. These cuts are short sighted and symptomatic of a government running workers’ rights into the ground,” Darien Fenton said.

ENDS


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