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Wilkinson’s claims on pay equity investigations farcical

CTU Media release

22 November 2011

Wilkinson’s claims on pay equity investigations proven farcical

After receiving advice from the department of Labour, CTU President Helen Kelly today said that the Minister of Labour is wrong about pay equity investigations and that there is a need for a law change to allow workers to find out pay information.

“We launched a joint petition with the Green Party in August this year following statements from the Minister of Labour that Labour Inspectors have the power to investigate issues of equal pay in the workplace. 261 workers from 18 workplaces from around the country have written to the Labour Inspectors, as suggested by Ms Wilkinson, seeking an investigation into their pay, only to be told that they need evidence that a pay gap exists before the Inspectors can investigate.”

“This leaves women in a Catch 22 situation where they need to prove there is a gap before the Inspectors can investigate the gap. The process the Minister suggested is a farce.”

“Kate Wilkinson refused to support Catherine Delahunty’s pay equity information law on the basis that women could use the Inspectorate to investigate claims of pay inequity. However, the process outlined by the Inspectors is simply unrealistic for any woman worker to reasonably be expected to go through. They first have to go to their boss, seek pay information about their colleagues, which their boss doesn’t have to give them (and possibly can’t under current law), then prove that there is a complaint to be made.”

“Catherine Delahunty has drawn up legislation that would enable workers to have access to these records for the purpose of investigating equal pay issues but the National Party refused to support it. We believe that a law change to allow workers to have the pay information first will mean that complaints to the inspectors will be based on knowledge of pay inequality rather than relying on the inspectors in the first instance to inspect all workplaces.”

“We have tested the Minister’s assertion that under the current system it is possible for workers to get information about pay rates. She should have done this as well – and she would have found out – it doesn’t work!.”


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