Pay Up: Pay equity For Women Workers

PAY UP - No More Lip Service to Pay Equity! - Mich-Elle Myers Maritime Union of Australia

The Australian Union movement rallied in their thousands across the country on Thursday June 10 to highlight the significant difference between the pay of men and women. ITF Affiliate The Australian Services Union (ASU) organised the rallies which are the biggest in 30 years over the gender disparity in wages. The ASU is the union for community sector workers.

The average weekly wage for a woman working full time is just under $1,100 which is 18 per cent less than the average for men. That puts the gap at the same level it was at in 1972.

The rallies come 38 years after Australian arbitrators ruled that men and women doing the same work should be paid the same.

The ASU Assistant National Secretary Linda White said, "This week's action around the nation will clearly show that the battle for pay equity is far from over.

"Women in full time paid work still earn 18 per cent less on average than men, which equates to $1 million less over a lifetime.
Other affiliates joined in the rallies in 17 locations across Australia. The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), The Australian Workers Union (AWU), The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) proudly joined in to assist.

Community Sector workers are undervalued and underpaid and not properly respected. Their work has traditionally been seen as "women's work" and their wages have been restricted as a result.
In 2010, Unions led by the ASU and supported by the ACTU and the Federal Government are lodging a test case in Fair Work Australia using the new Equal Remuneration Laws embedded in the Fair Work Act. The case will impact the working lives of about 200,000 community workers.

The Community Sector is largely reliant on Government funding to run its essential services and to pay the wages of the workers. Winning the case will prove that these workers are undervalued - but, the case outcome alone will not correct the injustice. Workers need the Government to fund the outcome of the case to make Equal Pay a reality.

PHOTO DETAILS: Sally McManus NSW Secretary ASU addresses the rally in Sydney Town Hall - Photo Mich-Elle Myers