25 June 2013:
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is pleased to support the case that could change the face of aged care, being taken by the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota this week.
Last year caregiver and SFWU member, Kristine Bartlett agreed to be the ‘test case’ for a challenge to the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Pay Act came into law in 1972 but until now it has not been used in a way which addresses the pay gap between male and female dominated professions.
NZNO industrial adviser for the aged care sector, David Wait says, “The case has already attracted strong interest from both the government and employers and as it proceeds will ask two important questions. Firstly, why caregivers working in residential care are paid less than caregivers working in our public hospitals. And secondly, the case will ask why there is a pay gap between jobs largely done by men and jobs largely done by women.”
“A common example that we often see in the aged care sector is the pay rates for ‘handymen’, typically around $20 an hour compared to minimum wage pay rates for carers.”
“NZNO sits within the Council of Trade Unions as an ‘intervener’ in the case, which means we are a primary supporter and provider of evidence. We are hopeful that our evidence and the work of Kristine and many others will pay off, and the court decides in our favour. When that happens, the work of thousands of other low paid women workers in New Zealand Aotearoa will be valued properly.”