Equal Pay Case ‘Must Fail’ – NSW Government
29 April 2011 at 5:28 pm
In another blow for the social and community sector workers equal wage case, the newly elected NSW Government has backed away from supporting an equal remuneration order, saying the union’s case is flawed and must fail.
In its final submission to Fair Work Australia (FWA), the O’Farrell Government calls for the equal remuneration order not to be granted, stating that such an order could cost NSW $1 billion, leading to higher taxes and service cuts.
The previous Keneally-led Labour government supported the comparison between government and community sector workers, which forms much of the basis of the Australian Services Union (ASU) case., however the new O’Farrell-led Coalition government has rejected such a comparison.
The O’Farrell government submission says such a comparison in flawed and urges FWA that the ASU case must fail.
The ASU, who brought the case before Fair Work Australia, says the O’Farrell Government has taken action to stop low paid workers from receiving pay rises to adequately reflect the value of their work.
Last month, Pro Bono Australia reported that the Victorian Baillieu Government had backed away from its election promise to fund a pay rise for the community sector workforce should it be ordered by Fair Work Australia.
The O’Farrell and Baillieu Governments put forward very similar arguments in their submissions to FWA.
ASU Branch Secretary Sally McManus says it beggars belief that the new NSW Premier will not support the women and men who have been under paid for such a long time and it is appalling that the new Government will go so far as to make one of its first actions a reversal of support for equal pay rights.
McManus says the NSW Government should recognise the invaluable work of community and disability workers – 80 percent of whom are women – and not tell them that their government does not support a pay rise for their dedication and hard work, despite being some of the lowest paid workers in the community.
The Australian Services Union says more than 30,000 community workers and their families in NSW alone are affected by the low wages paid in the community sector. It says female-dominated sectors such as the community sector continue to earn on average 18 per cent less than male dominated sectors, despite equal pay rights being introduced more than two decades ago.
The Australian Services Union brought the case before Fair Work Australia (FWA), and is seeking a pay rise for community and social sector workers – a workforce which is predominantly female. The case is based on a 2009 Queensland decision to award pay rises to such workers of up to 37 per cent over three years.
McManus says the ASU will continue to fight for wage equality, with the ASU announcing a major campaign, including a rally outside Parliament House on 8 June to pressure the NSW Government to reconsider its position.
View the NSW Government’s submission here: http://www.fwa.gov.au/sites/remuneration/submissions/Final_Sub_NSW_Gov_FinanceAndServices.pdf
View all of PRo Bono Australia’s coverage of the equal pay case here: https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/tags/?q=community-sector-pay-case