Equal Pay Campaign for Community Workers
9 June 2010 at 9:58 am
National welfare peak body, ACOSS has launched a new campaign in support of the landmark equal wage case to lift the pay rates and conditions of 200,000 community sector workers.
ACOSS is encouraging its members, and other community organisations, to support the campaign by signing onto a joint statement of support. The statement calls for state and federal governments, and non-government funders, to commit to full funding of any pay increases that result from the case. So far 49 organisations have signed the statement of support.
CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, Clare Martin says community sector workers provide vital assistance to over 6.5 million Australians in services such as youth refuges, homeless shelters, family counselling, and community legal centres.
Martin says low wages have meant the community sector has suffered workforce shortages and struggled to attract and retain well-qualified staff.
She says 71% of respondents in the ACOSS annual survey of the community sector reported low wages were a key difficulty in hiring staff.
She says if wages do not improve, organisations will not be able to sustain their workforce and continue their crucial work.
The test case, currently before Fair Work Australia, follows in the steps of a Queensland court decision to lift pay rates for state community workers by 18% – 37%.
In March 2010, unions representing social and community sector and disability workers lodged an application for an equal remuneration order with Fair Work Australia.
The application aims to increase the pay of workers covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Industry Award (formerly SACS award). It was brought by the Australian Services Union, Health Services Union, Australian Workers Union, Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union and Australian Education Union; and is based on the Queensland case.
ACOSS says it will continue to advocate for full funding of any wage decision in this case.
For more information on the campaign go to http://acoss.org.au/home_page2/we_support_equal_pay_for_social_community_sector_workers/