Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Pay Equity petition sidelined

Over 15,000 New Zealanders signed Sue Moroney's Pay Equity petition earlier this year. We wrote about it quite a bit here and encouraged signing too. The guts of it was that it was a petition to Parliament to
call on the National Government to reverse its decision to scrap pay equity investigations for school support staff and social workers, implement the findings of previously completed pay and employment equity reviews, and develop a strategy to eliminate the gender pay gap in New Zealand.
The presentation happened on the steps of Parliament on the day before Suffrage Day and included not just political goodness but also cake and period costumes from Kate Sheppard's day.

The Pay Equity petition was then, as is standard, referred to the relevant Select Committee, namely the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee. So far so good.

However I've discovered this morning, via NZEI Te Riu Roa* who gathered many of the signatures for the petition, that without hearing from a single petitioner, the Select Committee has decided they “have no matters to bring to the attention of the House” in relation to the petition. Way to smack down the concerns of all those signatories.

This is Not Good Enough. Pay Equity remains a burning issue for women in this country, and to have it dismissed so casually when so many people have gone to the effort of raising it in the tried and true method of a petition to Parliament is an affront.

If, like me, you're feeling decidedly dissatisfied, the best bet is probably to email the National MPs on the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee who scuttled our petition: (MP for Hamilton East) (List MP, based in Mt Roskill) (List MP, based in Auckland) (MP for Tamaki in Auckland) (List MP, based in Dunedin I think?)
Some key points you may wish to raise:
  • The importance of equal pay for work of equal value - New Zealanders value the principle of a "fair go" - how is it fair that women on average are paid 12% less than men?
  • That ignoring the matter is not going to resolve it;
  • And any personal examples you can think of which relate to the inequitable treatment of women in terms of pay.
It would just be nice if they could actually examine the issues raised by the petitioners and hear from them. Isn't that what a Select Committee is supposed to do?

* I work for this union but this is a personal post.

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