The Council of Trade Unions today welcomed the passing of the first reading of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill in parliament as a critical historic step towards women accessing their right to be fairly paid. CTU President Richard Wagstaff said that the Bill will enshrine the pay equity principles in law that were agreed to by business, Government and the representatives of working people.
“One of the core platforms of this Coalition Government is equality for women, including pay equity,” he said. “This Bill, along with the recent settlements for mental health community workers, social workers and primary education support workers is all about delivering on those promises”.
“Finally, we have a Bill that reflects what the Joint Working Group recommended, without the cynical hurdles the National Government tried to add. It will enable women who have been historically undervalued to get their fair share, by using a legal and bargaining process with agreed principles to determine equal pay.”
“Unlike the last Bill introduced by the previous Government, the motivation behind this Bill is to support the attainment of equal pay, not put barriers in the way. There was no good reason for restricting the kinds of occupations you can look at to determine if your work is undervalued on the principles of skills, responsibility, effort, or conditions of work, as the National Party tried to do.”
“The beauty of this Bill is that all the principles have already been agreed to by the tripartite Working Group. Unions have always been at the heart of the equal pay campaign – every settlement so far has been won by union women – and unions expect to be at the centre of future cases under the new law too.”
“While there will be the usual technical adjustments in Select Committee, the Government can now prioritise passing the Bill so women having a solid process enshrined in law to access the pay that is already rightfully theirs.”