An interim equal pay agreement for DHB administration and clerical workers is being greeted with a mixture of satisfaction and relief.
The claim was lodged in April 2018 and is now on track for a final settlement in the middle of this year.
“While it has not been a smooth road, we have continued to fight for our admin members,” says national negotiating team delegate Jeanette Wilkinson.
In December members overwhelmingly backed the interim agreement and an interim payment, which will lift the majority of salaries by up to $2,500 a year.
Once the claim is settled more than 8,500 workers from 22 DHBs will be covered by a consistent nationwide pay structure, with further pay increases as people move to the new equal pay rates.
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
The agreement is hard won recognition for our members, who work tirelessly every day to ensure our hospitals are running smoothly so that you receive the care you need.
They’ve shown equal determination and persistence in pursuing the claim.
In 2019 they presented a 12,800 signature Heart of the Hospital petition to parliament, they’ve made submissions and appearances at select committees, and last year donned pink for Pink Tuesdays to get the claim over the line.
Hutt Valley DHB medical secretary Jill Madgwick says the interim agreement is an “overdue triumph”.
“The constant battle to be recognised as worthy is quite draining. The increase will mean a huge amount for many people.”
ACC administrator Hineuru Tutua-Nathan, who is also from Hutt Valley DHB, says she’s long believed her salary does not fairly reflect the work she does.
“The interim settlement will make a welcome difference in my income and a stronger sense of acknowledgement for the work I carry out.”
Jeanette Wilkinson has been a medical secretary for Southern DHB for 20 years. She says as a solo parent it’s been very difficult to manage on such low pay.
“Especially when wages were ‘frozen’ for many years, there was no contingency for emergencies. I had to rely upon the kindness of my parents to get me over those times.”
Jeanette turns 65 next year and has only been able to start saving with Kiwisaver in the last 18 months.
“This will enable me to make bigger contributions so I can possibly retire slightly earlier.”
Hineuru Tutua-Nathan says the final settlement will be “a huge celebration and relief for all of us”.
EQUALITY FOR ALL
While the DHB admin claim is nearing a final settlement, the PSA is pursuing other claims across our union. Here’s an update on our progress:
Assessing claim: including agreeing on bargaining process, comparing roles and pay rates
Local Government library assistants
Public Sector administration workers
NGO Social Service support workers
NGO Social Workers
Allied Health & Technical
Mental Health & Public Health nurses
Settling claim: agreeing on equal pay rates
DHB administration and clerical workers
Disability, aged care and home support workers
Oranga Tamariki social workers
Mental health and addiction workers
Vocational disability support workers
PUSH ON PAY PRINCIPLES
The PSA is seeking to expand the reach of the gender pay principles to help eliminate all forms of discrimination in the public service and beyond.
The principles of freedom from bias and discrimination, transparency and accessibility, the relationship between paid and unpaid work, sustainability, and participation and engagement, help guide the development of gender pay gap action plans in all public service agencies annually.
With the new Public Service Act, we’ll be pushing for the principles to be implemented more widely.
We’re also pushing for them to be applied to all forms of discrimination, including ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.
The action plans for all core public service agencies as well as ACC are now available on agency websites. You can find them at
NEW LOOK EQUAL PAY TEAM
The PSA is welcoming two new staff members who will help lead our charge for equal pay.
Alex Davies joins the PSA as Pay Equity Lead.
Alex trained as a lawyer and previously worked at NZEI Te Riu Roa, where she was
lead advocate for the pay equity claim for teacher aides, which secured significant pay rises for them.
Alex’s role at the PSA includes raising pay equity claims, assessing work, selecting and assessing comparators, and negotiating settlements that ensure work primarily done by women is fairly valued.
Avalon Kent is taking a lead on pay equity cases for the PSA legal team.
Avalon worked in the Australian trade union movement, while completing her law degree. She then worked as an industrial lawyer. Most recently she was the legal officer at the NZ Council of Trade Unions. Her interests include pay equity.
The team support our equal pay advocates who promote pay equity in workplaces. Find out how you can become an equal pay advocate at www.psa.org.nz/media/campaigns/equal-pay/
Main photo caption: DHB admin delegates Emma Blain-Anderson, Jill Madgwick and Hineuru Tutua-Nathan