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Catching up with Australia just got harder

PSA Media Release

Feb 8, 2012

Catching up with Australia just got harder

While New Zealand’s community sector workers continue to struggle for decent wages, the same workers in Australia have just been awarded pay rises of 19 to 41 per cent, says the PSA.

The historic equal pay decision by Fair Work Australia will boost workers’ pay by 40 to 65 percent over the next eight years.

“Late last year, following a long legal battle launched by the PSA and SFWU in 2007, the Court of Appeal ruled that disability support workers should be paid the hourly minimum wage for sleepover shifts. But Australia has already decided it’s time to value this important work that’s mostly done by women and has boosted their pay accordingly,” says Public Service Association National Secretary Richard Wagstaff.

“New Zealand hasn’t got a hope of catching up with Australia until the Government takes action on pay equity.

“By not taking action the Government has failed to prevent the situation where people will continue to leave for Australia in search of better paid work. Even the Ministry of Women’s Affairs appears to have dropped the issue of pay equity if its briefing to the incoming Minister is anything to go by.

“Crossing the Tasman is now even more attractive when on offer is between 84 to 134 percent more in pay for this work.

“Here in New Zealand, the national average gender pay gap is 12 percent, but nearly a third of government departments have gender pay gaps above 20 percent.

“The Fair Work Australia decision is being seen as the most important equal pay case since 1972 when equal pay for work of equal value was first formally recognised in Australia.

“The New Zealand Government has to make equally historic decisions too on pay equity. Otherwise the country’s best resource – its workforce – will continue to seek better opportunities overseas,” says Richard Wagstaff.


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