CTU Women's Awards
Two outstanding PSA women activists from different generations were among the recipients of the inaugural CTU Women's Council Inspiring Union Women's Awards.
Jenny Goodman, a home support worker and PSA executive board member, and Cath Kelly, a PSA activist who played a leading role in the equal pay campaign in the 1950s, were presented with the awards by CTU President Helen Kelly at the CTU Women's Network Biennial Conference on 11 July.
Jenny’s ‘headline’ achievement is as the leader of the in-between travel case, taken by the PSA to correct the unfairness of home support workers not being paid adequately for time and costs for travel between clients. Not only did the case achieve this; it also set up the process for regularising working arrangements so that workers get guaranteed hours and paid training and development, with pay based on training and qualifications.
A tireless activist on behalf of home support workers, Jenny has been instrumental in in growing the PSA’s home support worker membership from about eight in 2004, to nearly 1000 home support members in Healthcare Holdings Ltd (HHL) and over 2000 nationwide across the Community Public Service providers.
Cath Kelly became active in the PSA when she started work in the Maori Affairs in 1952. The PSA had long supported the cause of equal pay for women, and in 1955 the Wellington section supported a resolution that the executive launch a major campaign for equal pay. Cath Eichelbaum (as she then was) was the chair of the
of the Wellington women’s committee and was elected to the campaign committee. She worked with a redoubtable group of PSA women activists, notably Margaret Brand (later Long), who was the convenor of the PSA women’s committee.
Cath was instrumental in bringing the issue of equal pay to the forefront of the union’s policy and strategy, and in uniting the membership and the public to redress the wrong of unequal pay.
In1959, after sustained pressure from the PSA the government set up a commission of inquiry into the implementation of equal pay, and in 1961 the government passed the Government Service Equal Pay Act.
In a 1982 PSA Journal article “How We Got Equal Pay in the Public Service” Cath Kelly recalled that long battle.