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News Media Releases Barnett Government refuses to support equal pay
Barnett Government refuses to support equal pay
Tuesday, 08 March 2011 11:44

On the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day the State Government continues to refuse to support equal pay for women workers.

“While people are taking time today to reflect on the remarkable achievements of the women’s movement in the fight for equality there must also be an acknowledgement of the ongoing battles” said UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk.

Despite equal pay for equal work being achieved in Australia in 1972, women’s work continues to remain undervalued and underpaid. And nowhere is this worse than in WA where the pay gap between men and women currently sits at 26% compared to a national average of 17%. The pay gap in WA is growing.
Industries that are female dominated continue to have significantly lower rates of pay than male dominated industries.

According to UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk, nowhere is this more apparent than in the Community Services Sector.

“Employees in the female dominated social and community services sector provide incredibly important services to the community, often operate in high pressure environments and have high levels of training and expertise. Despite this they are frequently paid an average of 30% less then their counterparts in the public sector.”

“This is because social and community work has historically been seen as “women’s work” and is subsequently undervalued.”

A landmark case led by the Australian Services Union currently before Fair Work Australia is seeking to change this situation however it requires the support of state governments as well as the Federal Government to fund any awarded increase in pay.

“Colin Barnett continues to refuse to support this equal pay case despite repeated requests from the ASU and their members who are incredibly disappointed that the Coalition Government won’t follow the lead of other state governments and the Federal Government in supporting this important case that would be an essential first step in reducing WA’s growing gender pay gap. 

“We’re very pleased that the WA Labor Party has agreed to support the equal pay case. With the WA Greens also supporting the case WA women have every right to ask why the WA Coalition Government continues to believe they deserve to be paid 26% less than men.

“The State Government is pursuing an active agenda to contract out more and more services to non-profit organisations while at the same time Premier Barnett is refusing to support equal pay for the workers who will be providing those services.

“The underpaid and undervalued workers providing essential services to the WA community while struggling to pay their bills are quite rightly questioning the Coalitions’s priorities,” said Ms McGurk.
For more information contact: Stephen Kaless, Media Officer, UnionsWA 0417 923 029

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