Archive for the 'Pay Equity' Category

Equal pay petition

Finsec members are participating in an Equal Pay Petition which is being circulated through the Council of Trade Unions.

The Minister of Labour says that there is no need for legislation to modernise the Equal Pay Act 1972, as workers can request Department of Labour inspectors to investigate if they think that men and women are not being paid equally. As there are very few labour inspectors and this mechanism has never been used, unions are trying to test it by getting 100 worksites to request an investigation.

There is a big gap between the average pay for men and women for each hour we work. There is also probably a very big gap in the finance industry – in Australia, where data is available by industry, finance is the industry with the widest pay gap – at 32.2% twice the national average.

Finsec will be asking some of our elected leaders to participate in the campaign and ask for investigations to be conducted in their worksites.


Low wage rises overtaken by inflation

The rise in the Labour Cost Index of 1.9 percent in the year to June shows wages are still falling behind inflation of 5.3 percent says Bill Rosenberg, CTU Economist, and even behind price rises other than the GST increase.

“This will make people more determined to ensure their wages do not fall in value. While there is a welcome increase in the number who have had increases during the year (rising from 56 percent to 58 percent), with a median of 2.9 percent, most have had increases less than inflation, and many people (42 percent) have not had wage increases at all during the year,” said Rosenberg.

“Collective agreements are consistently one of the most important reasons (combined with cost of living and keeping up with market rates) for pay rises. This underlines the importance of collective agreements negotiated by unions in ensuring wages do rise as the economy improves.”

The gender pay gap in the average wage is 13 percent.

Calls for employers’ chief to resign after stupid comments

CTU President Helen Kelly says Alasdair Thompson, the CEO of the Employers and Manufacturers Association, should resign following comments he made that women are paid less than men because of monthly “sick days”.

Thompson said in a radio interview this week that the 12% gender pay gap was “Because once a month they have sick problems.  Not all women, but some do, they have children they have to take time off to go home and take leave.”

Helen Kelly told NZPA Thompson should stand down immediately. “It will be insulting for every woman worker in this country today that is at work, earning less than men, rushing home to look after kids, dealing with all the household issues. And to hear him suggest there is a physical reason for the difference in pay is just outrageous.”

Kelly and Thompson had been discussing a new bill from Green MP Catherine Delahunty to modernise the Equal Pay Act, and make sure that workers and unions could request information on pay levels by gender in their workplaces to make sure women were being paid fairly.

Female staff banking on a smaller wage

Last week, we reported on Equal Pay Day and the campaign to address the 12.4% gap between what men and women are paid for each hour they work. This week, the Gossip came across updated statistics on the gap in the finance industry in Australia.
Women in the finance industry get paid an average 32.1 percent less than men, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This gap has increased on the 28.5% gap in 2009.

Banking and finance was the worst sector for unequal gap at nearly double the industry average of 16.9%. Information on the gap for our sector is not available for New Zealand – but if it is similar to Australian, women staff at our banks could be 25% behind male staff in terms of pay.

Male leaders stand up for pay equity

Finsec Union Councillor Howden Graywas one of a group of several trade union leaders and MPs who took part in an action for Equal Pay day this week. Male leaders wore Equal Pay red bags to support the campaign to close the 12.4% gap between what men and women earn for every hour they work, and to show it’s not just an issue for women.

Howden said that the issue was very pertinent for Finsec members, the majority of whom are women.

“In ANZ National for example, we are helping to address pay inequities by ensuring that our largely-female casual staff are covered by the collective agreement and are in a better position to negotiate fair pay increases,” said Howden. “This would be a good move if we could spread this right through our industry.”

Howden said before the action, he wasn’t aware of how much the Government had dropped the issue of pay equity. “National cut all the last government’s pay equity initiatives. Government needs to have a role in ensuring we have fair pay for everyone.”

18 February is Red Bag Day – the day that women effectively start getting paid this year. Before 18 Feb, women were working for “free” – catching up with men’s pay from 2010.

Kate Shepherd’s legacy betrayed, say Pay Equity coalition

Suffrage Day was last Sunday, but the Pay Equity coalition of which Finsec is a member, say there is little to celebrate with government blocking work to close the gender pay gap.

“A series of actions underway to close the pay gap in the state sector, and followed up in the private sector, were abruptly stopped by the government last year,” said spokesperson Angela McLeod. “Gender pay reviews, and the action plans that resulted, were tangible ways for the government to close the pay gap between women and men, currently 12 per cent.”

McLeod says that suffrage day should be a celebration, to honour the work of Kate Shepherd and the suffragists who won the vote for women in New Zealand. “But there is not a lot to celebrate in the government’s attitude towards working women in 2010.”

“This government wants to take us from leading the world on fairness for women to lagging along behind or at best, stay with the pack”.

Union and bank launch pay equity project

Finsec’s sister union the FSU has launched a pay equity project with Members Equity (ME) Bank, an outcome of their bargaining.

While the overall gender pay gap in Australia is 18%, the gap in the finance sector is 28% – the worst in the country. “We must get to the bottom of this issue, to not only gain a better understanding of why this pay gap exist, but to also develop solutions, for the good of the whole finance sector,” said FSU National Secretary Leon Carter.

ME Bank, together with the FSU, is looking to scrutinise its systems and pay outcomes, to engage staff in an examination of the work environment, and recommend improvements to overcome the pay gap for their 700 employees. ME Bank CEO Jamie McPhee said the bank was committed to gender pay equity.

The FSU engaged in a similar process with NAB in 2006-7, and are in discussions with the bank about progress made since then.

Pay equity rocks

The Pay Equity Challenge Coalition (of which Finsec is a member) this week highlighted New Zealand’s gender pay gap by reminding the Minster of Women’s Affairs Pansy Wong of her promise to “leave no stone unturned in trying to close the pay gap.”

Five large stones were placed on parliament grounds and were then “turned” with five simple suggestions underneath to highlight what the Minister could do to close the 12% gap between men and women’s hourly earnings in New Zealand. These included adopting legislation to guarantee pay equity, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and increasing access to quality early childhood education.

“Come on National – how are you going to work with employers and unions across both public and private sectors to reduce the pay gap?” asked Coalition Spokesperson Angela McLeod.

Finsec Campaigns Director Andrew Campbell spoke at the rally calling on the Government to provide leadership on the issue, saying it was cruel to leave it to the women currently most disadvantaged by gender pay issues to resolve this problem with no help.

Women in finance sector underpaid and under-represented at executive levels, says research

New research on the role of women in the finance industry in New Zealand and Australia shows women feel overlooked, underpaid and under-represented at senior levels – while men surveyed thought there wasn’t a problem.

The study, by the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (Finsia), showed that 85% percent of women agreed there was a gender divide in the industry, compared to only 26% of men.

Fifty eight percent of men flatly denied there was any discrepancy between the sexes in the industry, despite later agreeing that any gender pay gap was a fair reflection of the men’s skills and the hours they work.

A majority of female financiers said family commitments forced women to trade promotion for flexibility, and 72 percent did not think that employers had taken the steps necessary to give women the same career opportunities as men.

Women win millions in equal pay settlement

About 5,000 mainly female council staff have won their case for equal pay in the British employment tribunal. The workers at the Birmingham City Council may be owed thirty million pounds in back-pay for bonuses that were paid only to certain male employees.

The Unison union said it was a “major” victory for these union members. Theresa Daly, a school laundress for a school and one of those affected, said “I was annoyed. I worked as hard as the men and I had been working for a long time. To think they were getting paid more than me wasn’t very fair.”

Finsec members are taking up the issue of pay equity in the banking sector this year, and have asked the banks for information about how women’s pay compares to that of their male colleagues.

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