web analytics

Awaiting Equal Pay Case Decision

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 pm, July 1st, 2013 - 13 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

Caregiver Kristine Bartlett

Over 30,000 aged care workers and tens of thousands of other low paid women workers are awaiting the decision of the Employment Court in relation to an Equal Pay Case heard this week.

The Court was hearing a case brought by the Service and Food Workers Union, on behalf of $14.32 an hour senior caregiver Kristine Bartlett, alleging that her employer was breaching the Equal Pay Act 1972 by not paying her the rate that a male worker would get for work with the same skills, responsibility and service.

While the Equal Pay Act has been in existence for 41 years, this is the first case that has been taken for a female-intensive workforce and is provoking strong resistance from Kristine’s employer Terranova Homes and Care Limited and Business NZ.

Terranova argued that because it paid its four male caregivers the same pay rates as its 100-plus female caregivers then it was complying with the Equal Pay Act and told the Court it was being picked on and being put to great expense for no reason. It’s lawyer even made the comment that some jobs have always been paid low rates and always would be, but that was not about gender discrimination, simply the market rate that these jobs attracted.

Business NZ argued that a “pandora’s box” would be opened up if the Court agreed that women in female-intensive low-paid sectors, such as caregiving, were allowed to have their wages adjusted upwards to the level of male workers with the same skills, responsibilities and service outside of the female ghetto in which they were employed.

They argued that allowing the courts to set wage rates for workers in female-intensive areas was “returning to the past” and in the modern environment “business was allowed to bargain whatever rate it liked”.

These comments are at the nub of the problem that the Service and Food Workers Union and Nurses Organisation have encountered during the last 15 years in trying to address the abysmal wage rates paid to caregivers in aged care homes, hospitals, dementia units and pyschogeriatric units. The numerous committees, Government inquiries and parliamentary select committee reports have all agree that the women employed in this sector are underpaid but the situation has not changed because the cost of doing so has always been too great.

As Chief Judge Colgan quipped in the Employment Court hearing to a cost argument from Business NZ “cost arguments were made against the abolition of slavery”.

The Equal Pay Case follows on from a successful case that was taken by the Service and Food Workers Union for another group of low paid support workers in the disability support sector to win them the right to be paid the minimum wage for sleepovers.

The disability support sector also suffers from the lack of sufficient government funding, which makes collective bargaining an exercise in the pass-on of paltry increases, rather than a forum to establish the true wage rate for the job. It was only through going to the courts that the SFWU was able to gain the leverage to get the Government into serious bargaining about funding minimum wage payments for on-call work at night. Initially the Government indicated that the cost of doing so was enormous, but a negotiated settlement was concluded, the minimum wage established and the sky did not fall in.

Because of the very weak collective bargaining system in New Zealand, with no right to arbitration, more and more low paid workers are looking to organise around human rights arguments to win them wage increases.

This is the basis of the Living Wage Movement, with its emphasis on the right to a liveable wage for not just directly employed workers, but the tens of thousands who are now employed indirectly by contractors, sub-contractors and labour hire companies. Several city councils have adopted living wage policies and The Warehouse retail group has also picked it up.

But it is also the basis for the increasing use of the courts by low-income workers to seek support for the compliance by employers and the New Zealand Government with international human rights conventions, such as those that apply in the area of gender equity.

While it will be several months before the Employment Court makes its decision about the nature of the Equal Pay Act 1972, pandora’s box has already been opened, the right to a living wage is already on the agenda and human rights claims by low income workers to increase their wage rates and restrain unregulated market forces are on the increase..

13 comments on “Awaiting Equal Pay Case Decision ”

  1. weka 1

    Thanks, that’s very informative.

    Business NZ argued that a “pandora’s box” would be opened up if the Court agreed that women in female-intensive low-paid sectors, such as caregiving, were allowed to have their wages adjusted upwards to the level of male workers with the same skills, responsibilities and service outside of the female ghetto in which they were employed.

    They argued that allowing the courts to set wage rates for workers in female-intensive areas was “returning to the past” and in the modern environment “business was allowed to bargain whatever rate it liked”.

    Thanks Business NZ. Really good to know where you stand. Oh, and fuck you, you bunch of selfish, arrogant arseholes. No wonder that so many in NZ are anti-business now.

    • Jilly Bee 1.1

      ‘Thanks Business NZ. Really good to know where you stand. Oh, and fuck you, you bunch of selfish, arrogant arseholes. No wonder that so many in NZ are anti-business now.’

      Hear, hear Weka.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.2

      They are so helpful in listing their members. Here is the “Major Companies Group”:

      ACC, AECOM NZ Ltd, ANZ National Bank Ltd, ASB Bank Ltd, Auckland Airport, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd, Bank of New Zealand, BECA, BP New Zealand, Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper, Chapman Tripp, Chevron NZ, Chorus New Zealand Ltd, Contact Energy Ltd, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank AG New Zealand, Downer EDI Works Ltd, Fletcher Building Ltd, Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, Foodstuffs Group, Fuji Xerox NZ Ltd, Fujitsu NZ Ltd, Fulton Hogan Ltd, Genesis Energy, Gough Group, HSBC, IAG New Zealand Ltd, Industrial Research Ltd, KiwiRail, Landcare Research, Lion, Lyttelton Port Company Ltd, McConnell Group, Meridian Energy Ltd, Methanex NZ Ltd, Microsoft NZ Ltd, Mighty River Power Ltd, New Zealand Steel Ltd, Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation, NZ Post Ltd, NZ Refining Company Ltd, NZX Ltd, Opus International Consultants Ltd, Orion Health, Pan Pac Forest Products Ltd, Port of Tauranga Ltd, Ports of Auckland Ltd, PricewaterhouseCooper NZ, Progressive Enterprises Ltd, QBE Insurance (International) Ltd, Rio Tinto Alcan NZ Ltd, Sanford Ltd, Shell NZ Ltd, Siemens (NZ) Ltd, Silver Fern Farms Ltd, Skope Industries Ltd, Sky City Entertainment Group Ltd, Solid Energy NZ Ltd, Spotless Services (NZ) Ltd, Sothern Cross Healthcare, Telecom NZ Ltd, Telstraclear Ltd, Thales NZ Ltd, The Warehouse Group Ltd, Todd Corporation, Toyota NZ Ltd, Transfield Services NZ Ltd, Transpower NZ Ltd, Unison Networks Ltd, Vero Insurance NZ Ltd, Vero Insurance NZ Ltd, Vodafone New Zealand, Waterfront Auckland, Wellington Electricity, Westpac NZ Ltd, Z Energy Ltd, Zespri International Ltd.

      Several publicly owned companies in that nest of (I was going to say vipers) vultures. They need to be put on notice that when a pro-New Zealand government is elected, they will either quit the organisation or sack their lawyers.

      PS: I wonder what Stephen Tindall makes of being represented by these scum.

      • CC 1.2.1

        Stephen Tindall was always in bed with rest of the listed scum wasn’t he? Seem to recall that one of his mates resigned from his charity because the Warehouse was so damaging to communities that had the red barns foisted on them.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.2.1.1

          You are aware that the red sheds are in the process of implementing the living wage, no? Perhaps you should do a little research on other aspects of their employment practices before you rush to judgement.

          • CC 1.2.1.1.1

            And what has that got to do with the “vulture/viper” company that Steven Tindall keeps or that from day one, the bulk of the red barn staff were on less than a living wage?

  2. Kurt 2

    Ah, the article said ” because it paid its 4 male workers the same pay rate as its 100 female workers it was complying with the equal pay act”. Umm, unless I’m high on crack does this not mean the woman ARE getting equal pay????

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1

      No. Did you read the whole article? Just that every news report I’ve seen on this case answers your question, which begs the question: are you a bit challenged?

  3. Yes 3

    If only labour agreed to sort this out when first arose, this is a good case and I support it

  4. Descendant Of Sssmith 4

    It would be interesting to see the historical change in wage rates since the 80’s reforms for male dominated occupations versus female dominated occupations.

    The same again for ethnicity.

    There’s no doubt in my observation at least that females and ethnicities have been most disadvantaged by the neo-liberal environment.

    Nurses, cleaners, and so on versus police, lawyers, freezing workers, etc.

    I’m picking we would see quite a substantial drop for the former initially when things like penal rates were taken away and then a slow rate of rise less than inflation while the latter will show much more steady increases. Even the works with all it’s industrial issues will be more positive than most of the female dominated occupations.

    Forestry and bus driving would be interesting for males.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Aotearoa NZ responds to COVID-19 in Niue
    Aotearoa New Zealand is sending a medical team and supplies to Niue to help it respond to new cases of COVID-19, following the opening of its border to quarantine-free travel last week. Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare have announced a Medical Assistance Team will head to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Govt boosts digital skills for over 30,000 small businesses
    More than 30,000 small businesses have participated in Government-funded digital training, which supports businesses to take advantage of digital tools and new opportunities through e-commerce, Minister for Small Business Stuart Nash announced today. “Over the last two years, many business owners had no option but to move to digital platforms ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Government’s balanced fiscal management
    The latest Crown Accounts show a solid result, despite challenging international conditions – reflecting the Government’s careful management of the books. For the eleven months to the end of May 2022 the Operating Balance before Gains and Losses (OBEGAL) deficit was $7.7 billion, $5.5 billion below that forecast in May’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government action to tackle delays in Family Court
    New legislation aimed at tackling delays in the family justice system, will help improve the wellbeing of thousands of children caught up in Family Court disputes every year, Justice Minister Kiri Allan says. The Family Court (Family Court Associate) Legislation Bill will see a number of Family Court Associates employed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Minister to meet all rural and provincial councils
    New Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty is today beginning a series of visits to all of the 55 rural and provincial councils across the motu. “Local government plays a crucial role in our democratic system, ensuring people have a voice in the leadership of their community,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Imports of Russian gold banned
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor have announced that Aotearoa New Zealand will ban the import of Russian gold. “Today’s decision further signals Aotearoa New Zealand’s condemnation of Russia’s flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “It underscores our intention of ensuring ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Public Health services to improve health for all Kiwis
    The rollout of the new nationwide health system continued today with the launch of the country’s first national public health system to fight disease and promote healthy lives. The Public Health Agency will lead and co-ordinate population and public health policy, strategy and regulation, while the national Public Health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister to lead trade mission to Australia
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will lead a trade mission including over 30 New Zealand businesses to Melbourne and Sydney this week as part of the Government’s reconnection strategy to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19. While in Sydney, Jacinda Ardern will also give an address to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Applications now open for new work visa holders from offshore
    Final stage of Accredited Employer Work Visa goes live today Offshore migrants can apply to work in New Zealand for an accredited employer Partners and dependents of work visa applicants can also apply for visas from today New Zealand has taken another significant step forward in our Reconnecting plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Better and fairer access to legal assistance
    Raising eligibility thresholds will provide a helping hand to more than 90,000 New Zealanders currently denied access to legal aid, Justice Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Government is committed to driving through legislative changes to strengthen our legal aid system. “Enshrining changes in legislation and regulations is necessary to give ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Diplosphere Conference 2022
    Mihi Manawa maiea te pūtanga o Matariki Manawa maiea te ariki o te rangi Manawa maiea te mātahi o te tau! Thank you for the invitation to join you today. Unfortunately I can’t be there in person but I'm pleased that this is an opportunity for young Māori and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strengthening NZ-UK people, science and trade connections
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London overnight, and together took a number of steps to strengthen the already close ties between our two countries, and promote our common interests in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. “The UK is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s oldest and closest friends and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern and Boris Johnson
    Building a more secure, sustainable and prosperous future together: Joint Statement – Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern and Boris Johnson 1. New Zealand and the United Kingdom are old friends and close partners. Our relationship rests on a bedrock of history, shared values, and deep people-to-people links, extending across almost all ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PM’s Chatham House
    Director Sir Robin Niblett, distinguished guests. What an honour it is to be back in London, and to be here at Chatham house. This visit represents much for me. The reopening of borders and resumption of travel after a difficult few years. The chance to bring life to the UK ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Otago Foreign Policy School, opening address
    Manawa maiea te pūtanga o Matariki Manawa maiea te ariki o te rangi Manawa maiea te mātahi o te tau! Introduction I’m pleased to join you for my second address at the 56th Annual Otago Foreign Policy School.  The topic for this year is Space. Given that we are in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government launches new Ministry of Disabled People
    New Ministry will officially be called Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People Public Service Commission have appointed Geraldine Woods as Interim Chief Executive Office for Disability Issues to be folded into the new Ministry In what is a milestone day, the Government has launched Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Whaikaha ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further Investment to support rangatahi to overcome barriers to employment
    Nine new He Poutama Rangatahi programmes have been approved funding.  These programmes will provide work-readiness, training and employment initiatives for over 820 rangatahi NEETS (not in education, employment or training), across Aotearoa New Zealand.  "He Poutama Rangatahi has proven to be a very successful initiative which supports rangatahi to overcome ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Crown appointments to Ihumātao Steering Committee
    Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson today announced the appointment of Crown representatives, Dr Charlotte Severne and Mr Bernie O’Donnell, to the Steering Committee that will determine the future of the Ihumātao land.   “I’m pleased to have made the Crown appointments. Both Dr Severne and Mr O’Donnell have extensive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Health Minister Andrew Little's address to first joint meeting of the boards of Te Whatu Ora &#...
    I begin by thanking each of you for accepting appointment to these boards. You’ve each been on the Ministerial committee that established Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora - the Māori Health Authority and I express my appreciation for the enormous task you collectively ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Hong Kong National Security Law
    Aotearoa New Zealand has reiterated its concerns over the continued erosion of rights, freedom and autonomy in Hong Kong. On the second anniversary of the introduction of the Hong Kong National Security Law, the Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says developments in Hong Kong remain a cause for worry. “Two years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Europol Agreement will assist New Zealand law enforcement in tackling serious crime
    The Europol Agreement signed is a significant milestone for New Zealand and the European Union’s relationship, and reflects our shared principles of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. The Prime Minister attended a signature ceremony in Brussels, as part of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New era for better health in Aotearoa New Zealand
    ·       New nationwide public health system ·       20 district health boards disestablished and deficits wiped ·       82,000 health employees directly employed by Health New Zealand ·       $24 billion health budget this year – up 43% since Labour took office in 2017 – in addition to separate funding for the new ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New chairs appointed to the Teaching Council and Te Kura
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced appointments to the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Board of Trustees of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura). “Robyn Baker ONZM has been appointed as the chair of the Teaching Council. She has considerable governance experience and is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint media release on the occasion of the meeting between European Commission President von der Ley...
    European Commission President von der Leyen and Prime Minister of New Zealand Ardern met in Brussels on 30 June 2022. The encounter provided an opportunity to reaffirm that the European Union and Aotearoa New Zealand are longstanding partners with shared democratic values and interests, aligned positions on key international and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand secures major free trade deal with European Union
    Export revenue to the EU to grow by up to $1.8 billion annually on full implementation. Duty-free access on 97% of New Zealand’s current exports to the EU; with over 91% being removed the day the FTA comes into force. NZ exporters set to save approx. $110 million per annum ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Biggest Year for Clean Cars on Record
    57,000 EVs and Hybrid registered in first year of clean car scheme, 56% increase on previous year EVs and Non Plug-in Hybrids made up 20% of new passenger car sales in March/April 2022 The Government’s Clean Car Discount Scheme has been a success, with more than 57,000 light-electric and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police Wing 355 includes the highest ever proportion of Wāhine Māori
    Police Minister Chris Hipkins congratulates the newest Police wing – wing 355 – which graduated today in Porirua. “These 70 new constables heading for the frontline bring the total number of new officers since Labour took office to 3,303 and is the latest mark of our commitment to the Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New RBNZ board takes up role from 1 July
    Members with a range of governance, financial and technical skills have been appointed to the Reserve Bank Board as part of the shift to strengthen the Bank’s decision-making and accountability arrangements. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 2021 comes into force on 1 July 2022, with the establishment of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New measures to help manage COVID-19 as country stays at Orange
    New Zealand to remain at Orange as case numbers start to creep up 50 child-size masks made available to every year 4-7 student in New Zealand 20,000-30,000 masks provided a week to all other students and school staff Extra funding to schools and early childhood services to supports better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ to join International Court of Justice case against Russia
    Aotearoa New Zealand will join Ukraine’s case against Russia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which challenges Russia’s spurious attempt to justify its invasion under international law. Ukraine filed a case at the ICJ in February arguing Russia has falsely claimed genocide had occurred in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New advisory group provides enduring Māori expertise for Te Aorerekura delivery
    The Government has taken another step forward in its work to eliminate family violence and sexual violence with the announcement today of a new Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory Group. A team of 11 experts in whānau Māori wellbeing will provide the Government independent advice on shaping family violence and sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making work better for Kiwi women
    Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan was launched today by Minister for Women Jan Tinetti – with the goal of ensuring New Zealand is a great place for women to work. “This Government is committed to improving women’s working lives. The current reality is that women have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Good Employer Awards celebrate food and fibre sector
    The food and fibre sector acknowledged its people and leadership at last night’s 2022 Primary Industries Good Employer Awards, a time to celebrate their passion towards supporting employees by putting their health, welfare and wellbeing first,” Acting Minister of Agriculture Meka Whairiti said. “Award winners were selected from an extraordinary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PM's comments to NATO session
    Kia ora koutou katoa.  It is a rare thing to have New Zealand represented at a NATO Summit. While we have worked together in theatres such as Afghanistan, and have been partners for just on a decade, today represents an important moment for our Pacific nation.   New Zealand is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Veterans Minister announces new focus on mental health for veterans and their whānau
    Te Arataki mō te Hauora Ngākau mō ngā Mōrehu a Tū me ō rātou Whānau, The Veteran, Family and Whānau Mental Health and Wellbeing Policy Framework “We ask a lot of those who serve in the military – and we ask a lot of the families and whānau who support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Minister to advocate for Small Island States
    Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio has been appointed by the United Nations and Commonwealth as Aotearoa New Zealand’s advocacy champion for Small Island States.  “Aotearoa New Zealand as a Pacific country is particularly focused on the interests of Pacific Small Island Developing States in our region.  “This is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Increased support for households to pay local council rates
    An estimated 100,000 low income households will be eligible for increased support to pay their council rates, with changes to the rates rebate scheme taking effect from 1 July. Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced increases to both the maximum value of the rates rebate, and the income threshold ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • He Oranga Poutama expanded into four new regions
    A long-standing physical activity programme that focuses on outcomes for Maori has been expanded to four new regions with Government investment almost doubled to increase its reach. He Oranga Poutama is managed by a combination of hapū, iwi, hauora and regional providers.   An increase in funding from $1.8 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Wellington’s rapid transit option progresses to next stage
    The Government is progressing a preferred option for LGWM which will see Wellington’s transport links strengthened with light rail from Wellington Station to Island Bay, a new tunnel through Mt Victoria for public transport, and walking and cycling, and upgrades to improve traffic flow at the Basin Reserve. “Where previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Keynote remarks: Tech 4 Democracy Summit, Madrid
    To Provost Muniz, to the Organisers at the Instituto de Empresa  buenas tardes and as we would say in New Zealand, kia ora kotou katoa.  To colleagues from the State Department, from Academia, and Civil Society Groups, to all our distinguished guests - kia ora tatou katoa. It’s a pleasure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago