Monday, March 01, 2010

Unions to work on equal pay for women

In the Sydney Morning Herald this morning, reports that women's pay is worse than in 1985, when compared to men's. The first part of the article is reproduced here.

Women's pay worse than in 1985
March 2, 2010

WOMEN'S lack of progress towards equal pay is to be placed on the federal election agenda, with unions set to conduct a public and political campaign calling for government intervention.

The ACTU executive will this week endorse a report stating that the issue of pay equity is to be the ''major union campaign priority'' this year, apart from the federal election itself.

Last year women in full-time jobs were paid just 82.5 per cent of men's pay - less than they were in 1985 - and the ACTU report highlights that fewer than 2 per cent of ASX 200 companies have a female chief executive and only one in 12 directors are women. The ACTU report says that, although women are now more likely than men to be university graduates, they earn $2000 a year less when they start work and continue to fall behind in wages and superannuation.

The union push will be a combined industrial, political lobbying and community campaign, the report says. It will demand improvements in paid parental leave and push for tougher government regulation of business.

The ACTU president, Sharan Burrow, said employers ''should be held to account where they fail to promote women or pay them the same as men''.

She said it was unacceptable that in a country as wealthy as Australia women's pay was on average 17 per cent less than men's. "Women continue to face barriers to fully participating in the workforce and it is unacceptable,'' she said.

Among the measures suggested are greater protection from discrimination due to family and carer responsibilities and better regulation of flexible work arrangements for women and men with caring responsibilities.

Lets hope the action is successful!

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