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Support for Community Sector Pay Increase Overwhelming -Poll


12 April 2011 at 2:05 pm
Staff Reporter
The vast majority of Australians think community sector workers are underpaid and should be better rewarded for the work they do according to new polling from peak welfare body the Australian Council of Social Service.

Staff Reporter | 12 April 2011 at 2:05 pm


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Support for Community Sector Pay Increase Overwhelming -Poll
12 April 2011 at 2:05 pm


The vast majority of Australians think community sector workers are underpaid and should be better rewarded for the work they do according to new polling from peak welfare body the Australian Council of Social Service.

The findings come on the last day of hearings in the social and community sector workers equal remuneration case before Fair Work Australia.

Polling conducted by researchers EMC found that over 90% of people believe that workers in social and community services (SACS) should be paid more than or equal to workers doing similar jobs in other industries.

The full board of Fair Work Australia will retire after today’s hearings to consider the outcomes of the case brought before them by the Australian Services Union on behalf of the predominantly female community sector workforce.

Asked if workers in community services should be paid more, less or about the same as workers doing similar jobs in other industries, 32% of respondents said they should be paid more; 59% of respondents said they should be paid about the same, and only 3% of respondents said they should be paid less (as is currently the case).

The ASU case is based on a 2009 Queensland decision to award pay rises to such workers of up to 37 per cent over three years, with the ASU pushing for a pay rise of up to 50% for about 200,000 workers.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie says the poll shows that the vast majority of Australians want community sector workers to be properly supported for the important work they do.

She says community sector employees work with the most vulnerable people in Australia, in some of the most challenging environments and this should be recognised with adequate remuneration.

She says the pay gap between community sector workers and those doing equal or comparable work is irrefutable – and with 85% of the community sector workforce women, this constitutes a significant gender pay gap.

Dr Goldie says it is only reasonable for contribution of the NFP sector – which employs 900,000 people and contributes $43 billion to the nation’s GDP – to be recognised.

Dr Goldie says the Productivity Commission found that government funding routinely covers only 70% of the cost of deliver vital services – and it is workers who suffer as services stretch inadequate resources to support vulnerable people.

She says the challenge is now on the State and Federal Governments to support the findings of the Full Bench of FWA in this important case by committing to full funding of equal pay for community sector workers.

The survey was conducted by Essential Research, with data provided by Your Source, and is based on 1,084 respondents.

Fair Work Australia will retire on Tuesday to consider the equal remuneration case, with a final determination expected to be delivered after April 2011.

Survey Results:

Q. People who work in community services such as disability, aged care, family support, mental health and counselling are predominantly female and tend to be paid less than workers doing similar jobs in other industries.

Do you think that workers in community services should be paid more, less or about the same as workers doing similar jobs in other industries?  

 

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Men

Women

Age

18-34

Aged

35-54

Aged 55+

Paid more

32%

42%

25%

43%

29%

35%

34%

33%

29%

Paid about the same

59%

52%

66%

55%

61%

56%

51%

60%

67%

Paid less

3%

2%

4%

4%

2%

5%

2%

3%

Don’t know

6%

3%

5%

2%

6%

7%

10%

6%

2%

State-by-state

 

Total

NSW

QLD

VIC

SA

WA

OTHER

Paid more

32%

32%

30%

36%

23%

35%

37%

Paid about the same

59%

60%

57%

55%

66%

61%

55%

Paid less

3%

2%

4%

4%

5%

1%

Don’t know

6%

6%

9%

5%

6%

3%

7%

N=

1083

359

212

271

90

107

44



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