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Women throw down challenge on pay equity

CTU media release
30 June 2009

Women throw down challenge on pay equity

New Zealand women are today throwing down a challenge to the Government on pay equity at a rally outside Parliament in Wellington. A broad coalition of women’s groups is demanding to know what this Government intends to do to make pay equity a reality now that it has closed its own Pay and Employment Equity Unit in the Department of Labour.

CTU President Helen Kelly said: “The Government had the nerve this month to try and claim credit for the work of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit in a presentation to the International Labour Organisation in Geneva – without letting on that it had just closed the unit down and scrapped its ongoing enquiries.”

“If the Government doesn’t think the Unit is an important component in closing the pay gap, we challenge them to tell us what is. We challenge them to tell us what their plans are for closing the pay gap. We challenge them to tell us how they are going to work with employers and unions across both public and private sectors to reduce the pay gap.”

“Men employed at Child, Youth and Family earn 9.5% more than CYF social workers, 80% of whom are women. There are 800 women education support workers whom we know are significantly underpaid compared to men doing comparable work with similar skill levels and responsibilities. Those women don’t need more research by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. They need action on their low pay now. And there are thousands more like them all across New Zealand.”

“Today’s rally brings together a broad, apolitical coalition of community, employer, union, and academic groups who are committed to putting pay equity issues back on the agenda, because after more than 36 years of legislation women are still waiting for a fair deal.”

Several Wellington retailers are supporting the rally by offering a 12% discount in their shops, bars and cafes today.

The rally will be addressed by:
Helen Kelly (CTU)
Lewellyn Sumenko-Bucknell (School support staff and NZEI member)
Angela McLeod (NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women)
Sue Moroney (Labour Spokesperson Women’s Affairs)
Catherine Delahunty (Green Spokesperson Women’s Affairs)
Sophia Blair (Co-President, NZ University Students Association)

Pay Equity coalition members:

Womens’Studies Association
Business and Professional Women of NZ
Human Rights Commission
Workplace Wellbeing Project
Working Women’s Resource Centre
National Network of Stopping Violence Services
Coalition for Equal Value for Equal Pay (CEVEP)
Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
Rural Women NZ


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