NZEI is welcoming the Government’s decision to begin negotiations over equal pay for women.
The government is to set up a Joint Working Group with unions, including NZEI, and employers to develop agreed principles to guide lifting the pay for women working in education support, aged care and other female dominated occupations.
“We believe this is a significant step forward in ensuring that thousands of women will finally get paid fairly,” NZEI national president Louise Green says.
Last week NZEI lodged a claim with the Employment Relations Authority on behalf of three education support workers. They earn an estimated $8 an hour less than a comparable male-dominated job.
“We look forward to working with the government to help put an end to discrimination against women who are underpaid simply because they are in workforces that are primarily female.”
More than six years ago the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit found that education support staff were paid significantly less than a comparable male-dominated job.
The unit was disestablished by the current Government in 2009, but a number of pay equity cases filed by unions, notably the Terranova Aged Care case, have continued to advance the campaign for equal pay.
“We are very confident our rights under the law are secure but have always believed that negotiating a way forward is a sensible approach.”
However, Louise Green says NZEI will pursue the case for education support workers through the Employment Court if progress is not made through the Working Group.