Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cementing pay equity?

Yesterday was Labour Day. Today, National is going to celebrate it by removing your right to a tea break at work. The fact that this is their highest priority as an incoming government (as opposed to, say, reducing child poverty) speaks volumes about who they work for and the direction they plan to take New Zealand in over the next three years. "Governing for all New Zealand", my arse!

Also today, the Court of Appeal ruled in the case of Terranova Homes & Care v SFWU. The case was over pay equity - the principle of "equal pay for work of equal value". Terranova pays its caregivers barely more than the minimum wage, and the SFWU argued that this was because aged-care was a female-dominated profession with devalued wages. Last year, the Employment Court accepted that, based on a straight reading of the letter and purpose of the Equal Pay Act 1972. And today, the Court of Appeal backed that up, dismissing Terranova's appeal. Which means that the Employment Court is now free to state pay equity principles and conduct a comparison exercise which should result in Terranova employees (and hopefully everyone in the industry) getting the pay they deserve.

...unless the government legislates, that is. After all, they're taking away your tea-break today, purely out of spite. What do you think they'll do when the law is on the side of workers for once, and it threatens to cost their donors and cronies real money?