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May 1, 2017 | by  | in Politics |
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The Party Line

On April 18 the government announced a $2 billion settlement for the pay equity case brought before the courts by Kristine Bartlett. Bartlett successfully argued that the low wages she and many other care workers received were the result of gender discrimination. According to the Ministry of Women, the gender pay gap, the difference between women and men’s earnings, was 12 per cent in 2016. What measures need to be implemented to address this disparity?



VicLabour celebrates the historic settlement for 55,000 low paid, mainly female, workers fought for by Kristine Bartlett and E Tū. It’s time the government started actively valuing women’s work and skills. The government worked against this case for over five years, and now it tries to claim it cares. If ever there was a reason to join a union, this is it. Unions are how workers collectively address their issues, including those that heavily affect women; unions are feminist.

Labour has long been aware of the pay equity gap, and the last Labour government strove to address it. “We still need to see a modern and more effective system for dealing with pay equity claims, which is overdue years after National shut down the pay equity unit set up under a previous Labour Government” (Andrew Little, 2017). It’s finally time in 2017 for the government to be held accountable, and follow through with updated pay equity principles.

Young Nats — Lower North Island

The Young Nats were pleased to see the $2 billion pay equity announcement for healthcare workers from Prime Minister Bill English and Minister Jonathan Coleman on April 18. The announcement ensures that the predominantly female workforce in New Zealand’s aged and disability residential care and community support services are recognised for their dedicated work, experience, and qualifications in a fair manner.

The Young Nats support the government’s decision to update the Equal Pay Act and Employment Relations Act to create a simpler and more structured process for women to file pay equity claims and allow employers to respond to these more effectively.

This National Government has also created frameworks to support women into higher paid careers with tools such as the STEM Directory announced in 2016. The joint legal and social action helps create a robust program we are proud to stand behind to address pay disparity in NZ.

Greens at Vic

Women are being systematically denied their right to equal wages as sexist assumptions have driven down the value of work traditionally done by women. No amount of feel-good liberal tinkering can address this. This disparity can only be properly addressed when workers are given rightful control over their wages and employment. Greens at Vic support public and cooperative ownership as well as measures to empower collective bargaining. We must secure a living wage, a generous universal basic income, and a movement opposed to precarious work if we are to ever overcome the gender pay gap.

— Julie Littlewood

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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