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Unions To Hold Government To Account Over Persistent Pay Gap

November 26 marks the day women effectively begin working for free, say the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

NZCTU National Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges said that despite continued wage growth and low unemployment, the pay gap for women remains unacceptable.

“The labour market data released by Statistics NZ shows that we still have a lot of progress to make. The statistics are even worse when ethnicity is factored in. The incoming government must prioritise settling pay equity settlements to close these gaps.”

NZEI National Secretary Stephanie Mills said fair pay for early childhood teachers must be recognised and funded with urgency.

“Women in education have fought over decades to have their mahi and contribution to the learning and growth of our youngest citizens recognised and properly valued. We’ve seen significant pay equity settlements for school support staff, but there is still work to do. The settlement of more than 70 percent pay increases for kaiārahi i te reo shows the even more significant under-valuation of Māori and Pasifika women. “

Melissa Woolley, Assistant Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi said it was essential that progress continued to be made.

“We must keep up the momentum – thousands of care and support workers are already seeing their pay being eroded because of the failure to progress a fresh pay equity deal. They do a critical job of supporting people every day so they can live with dignity.

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“Thousands of community social workers are also facing long delays just getting paid their pay equity payments that have already been agreed. So, our message to the incoming government is that in a cost-of-living crisis it is even more important that there is no backsliding. Let’s keep making progress.”

New Zealand Nurses Organisation President Anne Daniels said the health workforce were trying to reverse decades of historic sexism.

“It has been 130 years since women received the vote in New Zealand, but in terms of pay we are still treated like second class citizens. It is time for this inequity to stop; an inequity especially felt by Māori and Pasifika women.”

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