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Equal Pay update 14 September 2016 - Equal Pay Christmas Present a Possibility
The Government has indicated to the unions that they would like to see an agreement on the long-running care and support equal pay negotiations settled by Christmas and will hopefully present a formal settlement offer to union negotiators before the end of October.
It has been 17 months since the Supreme Court gave unions the green light to proceed ahead with its Employment Court case to set the principles for the implementation of equal pay and to set an equal pay rate for caregiver Kristine Bartlett.
It has also been nearly a year since the Government stepped in and asked for a 6-month legal truce while they negotiated the principles and also an equal pay rate that would be extended to all caregivers and support workers, not just to Kristine Bartlett.
Despite the early optimism that accompanied this move progress has been agonisingly slow.
- The Government received a report in June setting out an historic consensus by both employers, unions and government advisers on the principles for implementing equal pay in female predominant workforces, but since then has delayed stating whether they would accept the consensus document or not.
- The negotiations with the Government over equal pay for care and support workers have been even slower. In May the unions called for the Employment Court to proceed with setting the equal pay principles and the equal pay rate for Kristine Bartlett.
- The unions had hoped that further involvement of the Employment Court might speed up the process of an agreeable settlement, but so far this has failed to materialise.
- The Employment Court, while issuing a memo on 15 June saying it would give priority to setting down a timeframe for a hearing, has failed to do anything about this issue for almost three months.
Meanwhile, the unions have filed over 6,000 care and support sector claims from the care and support sector in order to support a speedy resolution.
Union members have also continued to visit Members of Parliament and talk to them about the injustice of care and support sector wage rates and last week a petition was presented to parliament.
If you have any questions about the equal pay negotiations, call the NZNO Member Support Centre on 0800 28 38 48