Test Case Brings Pay Equity Closer for Community Sector Workers
10 November 2009 at 12:54 pm
Clare Martin, CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has congratulated the Australian Services Union and Federal Government for setting in train a process to address the low wages of, mainly women, community sector workers.
This follows in the steps of a recent Queensland decision which lifted pay rates for SACS and CASH workers by 18% – 37%, to be implemented over three years, and sets a precedent for wage increases under national arrangements.
The ruling also highlighted the discrepancies of wages paid to workers in different states. The ASU estimates community service workers in NSW are underpaid by up to $20,000 per year compared to workers in QLD.
The Federal Government agreed to work with the union ''in developing an appropriate equal remuneration principle for the federal jurisdiction and to provide research [such as labour market information] to assist Fair Work Australia in determining the pay equity claim''.
Clare Martin says ACOSS strongly supports the test case as a vital step towards long-awaited pay increases for community workers.
She says low wages have meant the community sector has long-battled workforce shortages and problems of attracting and retaining well-qualified staff.
This will be the first equal pay test case brought under Fair Work Australia. Dozens of Social and Community Sector Awards industry awards could be rolled into a single federal award.