Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay

The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.

The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings which supported the Service and Food Workers Union view that Ms Bartlett is entitled to use the equal pay act to argue for a rate of pay equal to what those working in the same occupation would receive if that group was male-dominated.

“The Court of Appeal’s ruling upholding the Employment Court judgement in this case is a victory for both the union movement and the Equal Pay Act,” Green Party women’s affairs spokesperson Jan Logie said today.

“Women working in the aged care sector have been underpaid by the Government and funders of these services through for too long,” Ms Logie said.

“These workers’ good will and dedication need proper recompense.

“It is great that Kristine Bartlett and her union, the Service and Food Workers Union, have fought and won this case, enabling women to use the Act to get a review of their pay on the basis of male dominated work of equal value.

“This should have been an automatic right, not a hard fought for and expensive victory.

“The Service and Food Workers Union efforts in fighting this this case for years must now be matched by positive Government action.

“This is a clear signal employers need to fully comply with the Equal Pay Act, including pay equity considerations. A good starting point would be for Government to put plans in place for achieving pay equity.

“Aged care workers must receive pay equity as soon as possible. Government needs to put a plan in place to deliver for working women.

“The Government and rest homes now need to stop spending money fighting this case and move towards implementing the recommendations of the Equal Employment Commissioner from 2012.

“The Minister of Health needs to direct District Health Boards (DHBs) to develop a mechanism to achieve pay parity between health care assistants working in DHBs and carers working in home support and residential facilities.

“The other important aspect of the Equal Employment Commissioner’s recommendation’s was to put in place a system that is transparent so that it is possible to see where any funding increases are spent,” said Ms Logie.