E tū: Government lacks support for pay equity bill

E tū says the government will face strong opposition to its Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill which had its first reading in parliament today.

The bill passed with the support of National MPs, Peter Dunne, and David Seymour, but Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party all voted against it.

E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall says the voting shows opposition to the bill across a broad spectrum of political parties and the citizens they represent.

He says E tū expects a strong response, as women fight back for equal pay.

“The care and support workers equal pay settlement gave tens of thousands of low-paid women workers hope that after 45 years of the Equal Pay Act they would finally have their work valued and paid properly,” said John.

“This bill, if passed in its current form, will make it very difficult for these women to ever get justice.”

John says the bill would also nullify the Equal Pay case for mental health support workers, which E tū and the PSA have lodged with the Employment Relations Authority.

“The bill means they would have to start again through a long and complex process to prove they have a pay equity case, and secondly to find appropriate comparators to make their case,” says John.

Mental health support worker, Sandra Rawenata says: “It will make it tougher for us. It means a lot more work, a lot more campaigning and another five-year run by the looks of it and that’s not fair.”

John says the bill is incompatible with the principles and processes agreed by the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity, as well as the Court of Appeal ruling in Bartlett v Terranova, which resulted in the Equal Pay Settlement.

He says E tū wants to retain the Equal Pay Act 1972, though it would need updating and would need to include the Joint Working Group principles.

“Instead, we’ve got a bill that looks designed to ensure no other women get a fair pay day in the way care and support workers have.  This is a poor law from a government which has made it clear it doesn’t care about equal pay for women.”

ENDS

For more information, contact:

John Ryall E tū Assistant National Secretary ph. 027 520 1380