web analytics
The Standard

Congrats to Kristine Bartlett & SFWU

Written By: - Date published: 2:42 pm, August 23rd, 2013 - 20 comments
Categories: equality, wages - Tags:

The Employment Court has issued a preliminary ruling on caregivers pay – saying that their pay should be compared to what it would be if their profession was male-dominated, not 92% women.

Kristine Bartlett is the test case with more than 20 years’ experience and skills bringing her a $14.32/hr wage.  The Service and Food Workers’ Union (SFWU) took it to the Employment Court to say that those skills and experience are under-valued.

The result is a huge precedent for gender pay equity.

John Ryall of the SFWU is now inviting thousands of caregivers to join the Equal Pay case against their employers and the DHBs (who contract out the work).

So may I join the CTU, Pay Equity Challenge Coalition, NZNO etc in hearty congratulations on a big win on an important issue.

20 comments on “Congrats to Kristine Bartlett & SFWU”

  1. alwyn 1

    I don’t want to comment on the merits or otherwise of this case.
    The problem I see no solution to is one of measurement. How do you decide what the pay would be if the profession was predominately male-dominated?
    The favourite mantra is “equal pay for work of equal value”. Fine sounding words but how do you measure it? I have worked in companies that claimed that they were trying to implement this. In paractice however they involved putting values on such thing as financial resposibility, skill and so on. I may be cynical but whatever they used the weightings applied to the various factors were such that personnel, as “Human Resources” was called in those dark days always rated very, very highly.
    Even the ones that seem most appropriate, such as equating primary and secondary teachers seem to become unusable when one says that University staff should also be treated the same.
    Once you get away from the basics it gets even more difficult. I have seen arguments that we can equate social workers and police. Why are they regarded as similar? How many social workers have to go into a crowd of drunks, by themselves, at night and try and break up a brawl?
    I think that many people are underpaid. That needs fixing but settling on somebodys opinion of what a pay rate would be if other people did the work is impossible.
    Of course if you give me the job it will be easy. I will decide that MPs are the equivalent of low level managers and drop their pay to $50,000/year immediately.

    • karol 1.1

      Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried. It’s glaringly obvious that traditionally female-dominated jobs are paid lower than male dominated ones. It is especially caring professions that suffer. They are more important to the social good than their pay-status indicates.

      Congratulations Bartlett and the SFWU.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        “It’s glaringly obvious that traditionally female-dominated jobs are paid lower than male dominated ones.”

        Are they low paid because women do the work, or because they are low paid, most men aren’t motivated to put in the effort to do it?

        • karol 1.1.1.1

          Ah, sometimes it’s a bit of chicken and egg. It’s often low paid and given to women, because the jobs have low status. When there’s a shift in jobs, men can vacate a once high status job for the newer, flasher ones. For instance, one secretaries/typists were men – it was considered a skilled job for educated men.

          With the expansion of typewriters and secretarial jobs, men shifted more to managerial and marketing jobs (Mad Men), and women filled the secretarial/typing jobs. Later, with the development of computers, more men returned to using keyboards, but tended to gravitate to the more high status computer programing jobs…. and on it goes.

          Caring jobs continue to have low status, unless its surgeons, specialists, etc.

    • QoT 1.2

      I don’t want to comment on the merits or otherwise of this case.

      Funny, that’s exactly what you did by trying to undermine the whole concept of establishing whether work is of equal value.

      See the Talley’s discrimination case as an example: the High Court was quite able to find that the two roles were equivalent in terms of the skills and experience required, except one was just coincidentally paid less and staffed with women.

      (Of course the truth is that a secretive cabal of lesbian witches cast magical spells around a cauldron to trick you into paying us millions while we sit around eating bonbons.)

      • alwyn 1.2.1

        The Talleys’ case was not a problem as they were ruled to be, effectively, the same job.
        There is no problem when people are doing the same job. The only problem is when you are trying to compare different jobs, and the comparison points become someones opinions.
        Is it really true about the cabal (your last sentence)?
        Wow I always thought it was a myth but it is now confirmed!

        • QoT 1.2.1.1

          But they weren’t doing the “same job”, alwyn, they were doing jobs which were effectively the same. And experts were able to assess this.

          And yes. The cabal totally exists which is why traditionally women-dominated jobs are now paid double what traditionally male-dominated jobs get. So this entire post is just a figment of your imagination.

  2. Tracey 2

    Thanks for posting on this Ben.

    If ou compare police training and salary and conditions with, say, nurses. You can get an idea of disparity between male and female value and recompense

    Nurses see death and blood and suffering, they clean up shit and urine, the work shifts…

    The disparity between this female dominated profession and the male dominated police begins with training. One has little training and is paid the other has three years and has to borrow.

    So, not as hard as we might think.

    • alwyn 2.1

      You would agree, I’m sure, that police “see death and blood and suffering, they clean up shit and urine, they work shifts”.
      So what? Both nurses and thepolice do these and other things but we simply get into a pointless wrangle if we start listing them. I suppose you could say that police have to know the law and nurses don’t. Again so what.
      My only real concern is how you compare DIFFERENT jobs. You can’t say, for example, that training takes longer and expect this to be the overiding component in job evaluation.
      On that basis you would probably have to pay a Catholic priest a couple of hundred thousand a year.
      Sorry but it is hard.

      • Actually nurses need to know quite a bit of law relevant to what they do, are required to work long or irregular hours, and the job can involve lifting people with enough frequency that honestly it has pretty high physical requirements. The comparison with police officers is not unreasonable and in some ways it’s harder to be a nurse.

  3. One Anonymous Knucklehead 3

    Great news, although the cynic in me is already wondering how this government will try and undermine the ruling.

  4. Mike S 4

    It’s great that the employment court has made this ruling. However I don’t see how it can be implemented in the real world? It’s my understanding that as long as an employee is being paid at least the minimum wage then a court can’t force an employer to pay them a certain rate. They can though rule for compensation in regards to gender discrimination so I guess that might be the form the extra pay would come in??

  5. Murray Olsen 5

    Good decision, and one where we on the left shouldn’t make the bosses’ arguments for them. They’ll try and undermine it all by themselves and we won’t get paid what we’re all worth until we get rid of the profit motive. For the life of me, I can’t see how I’m worth as much as a nurse, let alone more. I can see how I’m worth more than a cop, especially the ones who bury .22 cartridges in gardens and put Teina Pora in prison.

  6. xtasy 6

    I am afraid this is only a TINY achievement, and one reason is the low minimum wage. We have this issue of comparing wages, minimum wages, salaries and more, which often appear totally disconnected to the efforts and work put into it, by the workers concerned.

    While this may look like some achievement, it does not really address the sytemic issues, as the system is leaving carers and others underpaid, and the government gets away with it. Also they rely on the tax payers bailing them you, as the additional costs are portrayed ad prohibitive.

    So it is a dishonest debate and agenda, really. I expect a bit more than this, also from the writer.

  7. xtasy 7

    Why is it, in this country, so many desperate workers, get driven to extremes, they get sick, age quickly, get disparaged, destroyed and so on, while business “flourishes? There is a sick trend in NZ society, and it better be damned stopped.

    • Mike S 7.1

      Not just NZ society, most other western countries too. Corporate profits hit record highs all the time, even in the middle of the so called financial crisis, whilst workers wages stagnate or decrease in real terms. Greedy business owners are not sharing increased profits with their workers.

      Reminds me of something I read recently:

      They take our skills,
      They Take our labor,
      They take our knowledge,
      They take our pride,
      They take our talent,
      Our best ideas,
      They take our time,
      They take our lives.
      In the end
      They take our jobs,
      These ‘makers’ –
      Then turn around
      And call us , ‘takers’.

  8. tracey 8

    Alwyn

    it appears you read my post but perhaps misunderstood my meaning. You asked how it could be measured and I gave you a simple comparison by example which points to underlying attitude.

    there is plenty of research on this. I will try to find time to post some for you.

    the legal profession does regular member surveys. For example to find out what lawyers with same qualifications and the same years legal experience are paid. In the last 20 years the difference in favour of men is 10k to 20k.

    whats hard is not the measuring but the changing of attitudes. Many employers do it but give themselves justifications to do it.

    saying something is too hard is what keeps the status quo… even when its not too hard. People like the easy option by nature and are instinctive ly resistant to change.

  9. tracey 9

    This kind of decision is one of many reasons this govt is anti judiciary. Parliament is supposed to society’s conscience and the judiciary the safety net when parliament fails.

    qot

    plus 1

    your addendum
    plus 100

  10. tracey 10

    You would agree, I’m sure, that police “see death and blood and suffering, they clean up shit and urine, they work shifts”.”

    Absolutely which is why I used the exsmples

  11. Foreign Waka 11

    Many societies have an approach where people become “economic units”. Women had and still have an underclass role in that hierarchical setting. Coupled with traditions and beliefs the result is that women are bestowed with the expectation that caring for the very young and old is “their role” after all. Of cause this includes the financial approach that this is to be unpaid. However, since women have become “economic units” this has changed somewhat and warrants now the lowest level of contribution (cynical). In the relevant case the hourly pay just reverberates that attitude. (spit on the floor).
    One should not forget that everybody will come to that stage in their lives where they depend on help as they once had at the beginning of the journey. To do this in dignity should be honored with an appropriate recognition within society. If one wants to compare the pay, compare it to a midwife. One helps with the start and the other one with the end of life.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    1 day ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    1 day ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    2 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    2 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    2 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    3 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    3 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    3 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    3 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    3 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    4 days ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    5 days ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    5 days ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    5 days ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    6 days ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    1 week ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    1 week ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    1 week ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    1 week ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    2 weeks ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ground Zero for ‘disastrous’ contracts
    Yesterday the Green Party called on the Government to follow the leadership of Restaurant Brands and ditch zero-hour contracts. Currently it looks like the Government is a large part of the zero-hours problem. It allows these types of “non-jobs” to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Trust in National will disappear with deficit
    Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Dorothy Jelicich passes away
    It is with sincere sadness that the Labour Party conveys its sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Dorothy Jelicich who passed away last night at the age of 87 years, says the MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio.… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere