Abolishing equity

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, May 26th, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: Social issues, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

National has belatedly woken up to the fact that not all Kiwis are middle aged white males, and has been trying to make much of its new found diversity. It showcased supposed star Melissa Lee in the high profile Mt Albert by-election, and has trumpeted that “The Party has 17 women in the top 60”.

But how deep does this commitment to diversity go? Certainly not as deep as pay equity. Far from fostering equity, National have done their very best to deprive half the population of equal pay and conditions. Catherine Woulfe writes in the Sunday Star Times:

Unions are furious at National’s inaction over a new report that exposes the unfair treatment of female principals, teachers and school support staff. The government has kept the report under wraps since the November election but, after months of pressure, it has now promised to release the document “in the near future”.

“It’s more than just being upset,” says NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter. “This is a fundamental walk-away from one of the most basic human rights issues in this country.”

Under Labour, the report had the potential to prompt pay rises for cleaners and support staff, and a fairer system of performance reviews. But earlier this month National announced it had abolished the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit. This means it is highly unlikely any of the recommendations in the report will be followed up, Goulter says.

How can National’s female MPs tolerate this?

12 comments on “Abolishing equity”

  1. burt 1

    Unions are furious at National’s inaction over a new report that exposes the unfair treatment of female principals, teachers and school support staff.

    No mention of the fact this all occured (and was known about) on Labour’s watch?

    Have I missed something and it was the fault of the National govt from 1990?

    • The Baron 1.1

      HAH. Of course the Unions are furious – the wrong party is in power! How much campaigning does NZEI do for Labour?

      Easy to write a story that says that the Nats hate women, because they abolished the do-nothing-employathon that was the pay equity unit. But what did that unit actually DO?

      Oh, wrote a report. 9 years of Labour, and all you got was a REPORT? What a rip off of taxpayers money, and of pay equity, that sort of inaction was!

      • Daveo 1.1.1

        The NZEI advocate for their members’ interests. I don’t think they actually did any campaigning for Labour. They definitely don’t give them any political donations.

        In fact, if I remember correctly there was a huge billboard at Wellington Airport for much of last year criticising the Labour government over class sizes.

        You got any evidence Baron, or just frothing as usual?

        • The Baron 1.1.1.1

          No, I don’t – so I will withdraw and apologise for my slur on NZEI.

          The other points remain!

    • r0b 1.2

      No mention of the fact this all occured (and was known about) on Labour’s watch? Have I missed something

      Yes Burt, you missed something. Labour recognised the problem and set up the system to deal with it – the Pay and Employment Equity Unit. The unit that National just abolished, because they don’t give a damn about equity.

      • burt 1.2.1

        Ohhh that’s so sad rOb, here was me thinking that the problem was being ignored and all the time nice nice Labour were going to fix it all if they just had more time. So help me out here rOb, did the problem develop in the 9 years Labour were in power or was it just that 9 years was not enough time to do anything? Did Labour just write reports to pass to the nasty nasty National party who don’t want to know or is the problem so complex that we will need to let National piss around for 9 years so we can blame Labour in 2017.

        National have been in govt for 6 months and are responsible for all sorts of stuff including stuff that stems back to the 90’s yet Labour spent 9 years being blameless. Shit it must be nice to live in your world rOb, no wonder you support Labour they don’t need to do anything for it to all be National’s fault either by their actions today or by their actions 17 years ago.

        The 9 years in the middle . La la la la not listening

        • r0b 1.2.1.1

          Calm down Burty, you’ll burst a blood vessel. I don’t want that on my conscience.

          did the problem develop in the 9 years Labour were in power

          Of course not, the problem is as old as the hills.

          or was it just that 9 years was not enough time to do anything?

          9 years was enough to do something Burt, not enough, and not quickly enough, but Labour was moving in the right direction. From the Pay and Equity web site:

          In 2003, the Government set up a Taskforce to advise how the factors that contribute to the gender pay gap apply in particular parts of the New Zealand Public Service and in the public health and public education sectors. The Taskforce was also required to advise on a fiveyear plan of action for achieving pay and employment equity. (See Report of the Taskforce on: Pay and Employment Equity in the Public Service and the Public Health and Public Education Sectors.)

          In response to recommendations in the Taskforce report, the Government established the Pay and Employment Equity Unit in 2004. The Unit is charged with implementing the Pay and Employment Equity Plan of Action. This includes developing a review process and a Equitable Job Evaluation Tool, administering a Contestable Fund, and providing ongoing training and support.

          See here for the plan of action that was developed, and was underway.

          National have been in govt for 6 months and are responsible for all sorts of stuff

          National are responsible for abolishing the Pay and Equity unit Burt, and it clearly shows their priorities. You can rant and wave your arms until you piss yourself, and it won’t change that fact.

          • jerry 1.2.1.1.1

            Translation – Labour took 3 years to set up a task force that spent 1 year on a report that recommended setting up a unit which waffled for years and produced some paperwork to justify their existence .. meanwhile those who were suffering from pay inequity got squat.

            e.g Labour did very little very slowly….. National will do about the same or less.

          • r0b 1.2.1.1.2

            Labour did very little very slowly

            This isn’t an over night phenomenon. This has been an ongoing struggle since at least 1960 and the passage of the Government Service Equal Pay Act. Labour was doing something, I agree it should have been more and quicker. But it was something. And organisations representing women in business describe the axing of the unit as a huge blow:

            Newly elected President of the New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPWNZ), Angela McLeod, today condemned the Government’s decision to axe the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit. “The decision to abolish the unit is a huge blow to the campaign for pay equity.

  2. Tigger 2

    Apparently the gays don’t matter much to National though…poor old Finlayson doesn’t even get a mention…

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