Opposition offering a clear choice on equal pay

A change of government would make pay equity a reality following announcements from the Labour and Green parties over the past weekend, offering a sharp contrast from the current Government’s attempt to shut down current claims under new and restrictive legislation, says the PSA.

"We’re thrilled to see Labour committing to scrap the Government’s proposed Bill and ensure that community mental health support workers receive equal pay," says Erin Polaczuk, PSA national secretary.

"Pay equity is not just a nice idea or a political sweetener at election time - it’s a basic issue of fairness that we shouldn’t even have to be debating in 2017: women are worth 100%."

The Labour Party’s announcement commits to prioritising pay equity negotiations, and highlights the very real problem of talented mental health workers considering moving into general care and support roles for fairer pay rates.

The Māori Party have also signalled an intention to make equal pay for mental health support workers a reality. New Zealand First did not support the Government’s recent Bill either, and the PSA would argue that a consensus is forming.

"We also welcome Green MP Jan Logie’s bold pledge to achieve pay equity in all core government roles by 2020 - a system-wide approach like this is crucial in streamlining the negotiating process and ensuring that government sets a precedent for the rest of the workforce," says Ms Polaczuk.

"Capturing good data on pay equity across government departments is a crucial first step in evaluating where there are ongoing wage gaps and historically underpaid industries."

"In contrast to the National Party’s "pay equity" Bill - which actually limits the ability of women to pursue pay equity and shuts the door on future claims - we’re now seeing a real alternative from the Opposition."

"Our members have been out and about all around New Zealand to show their support for the week of action on equal pay, and they’ve calling on Government to listen to the rising chorus of voices against their regressive Bill and commit to equal pay for mental health workers."

"It’s an utterly indefensible position to be denying women fair pay, and I’m certain that many of our 64,000+ members will have this in mind when they head to the voting booths in six weeks."