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PAY EQUITY Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                    WHAT YOU CAN DO
The Government is proposing to abolish state industrial
                                                                    The  changes prop
                                                                                          osed by Howar
                                                                                                          d will set back
                                                                                                         years by Austra
                                                                                                                                  PAYdestroyed by
commissions, thereby consolidating the federal Government’s                            over the last 30
control of industrial relations matters. This change threatens      the gains made
                                                                    working women
important gains for pay equity achieved in recent years in                                              w you feel,               industrial relations changes
                                                                                      nment know ho
the state systems. Beginning with the ground-breaking                To let the Gover
NSW Pay Equity Inquiry in the late 1990s, a number of states         write to or emai
have held pay equity inquiries to analyse the nature and
                                                                      Kay Patterson
causes of pay inequity in their award systems. As a result                                en’s Issues
of these inquiries, the state industrial systems of New South         Minister for Wom ood Highway,
Wales, Queensland and Tasmania have adopted new equal                 Shop 3, 10-40
                                                                                       VIC 3151
                                                                       Burwood East           
remuneration principles. These principles provide a vehicle                              rson@aph.go
for increasing award rates of pay in female dominated jobs             senator.kcpatte
and industries where it can be shown that women’s work has             Pru Goward                     ommissioner
                                                                                      iscrimination C
been undervalued.                                                      Federal Sex D                    2001
                                                                                        , Sydney NSW
   The principles adopted by these states provide                      GPO Box 5128        
advantages over the federal system’s equal pay provisions,             complaints@hu
which require proof that gender pay differences are the
result of outright discrimination against women — a much                John Howard
                                                                        Prime Minister
more difficult thing to prove.                                                              dney NSW 2001
                                                                        GPO Box 59, Sy                     fm
   Under the new state principles, women (for example,                           
librarians, library assistants and archivists in NSW) have               Go to:
already received significant increases in award pay. There               Kevin Andrew            ent & Workpla
                                                                                                               ce Relations
are many more female dominated occupations which could                   Minister for Employm               08
                                                                                           oncaster VIC 31
benefit from the use of these principles, and this will never             PO Box 124, D   
occur if the state industrial systems are abolished.                      Email: kevin.and
CHANGES                                                                       Produced by the                                                                  ounced
In summary, the industrial changes being pursued by
the federal Government will have three serious effects on           National Pay Equity Coalition (NPEC)                                    Ministe r has ann relations
women’s pay:                                                         c/- 66 Campbell Street, Glebe NSW 2037                      Th e Prime es to industrial ly 2005,
                                                                                                                                          ang                1 Ju
* first, cutting back the powers of the Australian Industrial
  Relations Commission, and the awards that it enforces, will                                Contacts                            major ch systems after es control
  disadvantage more women than men because the award                               Fran Hayes                                     laws and Government ta these
  system protects the wages of proportionally more women;                                           when th enate. Some of ant impact
* second, destroying the safety net for collective agreements
  and AWAs will disadvantage women who rely on collective
                                                                               Suzanne Hammond                                      of the S will have a signif n working
  agreements and AWAs for their pay and conditions;                                                    changes ility of Austral ity.
* third, abolishing the state industrial systems in favour of the              Meredith Burgmann                                      on the a achieve pay equ
  federal system will wipe away the much stronger equal pay                                     o
  rights which have only just been won in those systems.
                                                                                          Endorsed by
                                                                                                                                       women t
                                                                               Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia
                                                                         Business and Professional Women NSW Branch
                                                                              Australian Women’s Health Network
PAY EQUITY IN AUSTRALIA- IS THERE                                    ATTACKS ON THE AWARD SYSTEM                                             ATTACKS ON COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
STILL A PROBLEM?                                                     The Government is proposing to reduce the benefits available            In support of its strategy to encourage direct bargaining
                                                                     under awards by taking measures which will reduce the real              between employers and employees rather than collective
Australian women are better placed than women in many                value of minimum award rates over time and remove conditions            bargaining, the Government is planning to make it much
other countries, largely because of Australia’s history of having    from awards.                                                            more difficult for unions to undertake collective bargaining or
a centralised wage fixing system. But there is still a long way         The Government intends to remove the role of the setting of          organise action in support of collective bargaining.
to go. At present, in Australia, full-time women still earn only     minimum award rates from the Australian Industrial Relations              The Government also proposes to make it possible for
82% of full-time men’s earnings. The gender pay gap is much          Commission to a new Government appointed body, the Australian           AWAs to override collective agreements at any time, thus
greater if part-time workers are included in the equation.           Fair Pay Commission. The new body will also adjust minimum              placing employees under more pressure to agree to AWAs
                                                                     junior, training and disability wages, award classification wages and   during the life of a collective agreement. Undermining
CENTRALISATION AND PAY EQUITY                                        casual loadings. Presently the AIRC adjusts minimum wages after         collective agreements in favour of AWAs will generally mean
The international evidence primarily shows that the more             reviewing submissions in open hearings from unions, employers,          lower pay for employees, especially women employees.
centralised the industrial relations system, the better the pay      the Government and interested community groups. There is                Recently released ABS data indicates that women employees
equity result for women. A centralised system is one where           no indication that the new body will operate in such an open or         on AWAs earn 11% less per hour than women on collective
pay is set at a national or industry level; a decentralised system   independent manner. Although the Government claims wage                 agreements. Furthermore, the gender pay gap is 10% greater
is one where wages are negotiated at an enterprise level, or,        rates will not be reduced by the Fair Pay Commission, the Prime         under AWAs than it is under collective agreements.
in its most extreme form, at an individual level between a           Minister’s statement makes no commitment to raise minimum
single worker and an employer. In Australia, pay is set at a         wages above 2005 rates, once these have been finalised.                 DESTRUCTION OF THE SAFETY NET FOR
national or industry level by awards, at an enterprise level by         The Government, which has already reduced the number of              COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS AND AWAS
enterprise agreements (often underpinned by awards), and at          working conditions which the AIRC can include in federal awards
                                                                                                                                             The Government has announced that it will drastically strip
an individual level by individual contracts, including Australian    to 20 ‘allowable matters’ is seeking to further reduce the award
                                                                                                                                             back the standard which collective and individual agreements
Workplace Agreements (AWAs). Australia’s centralised                 safety net by removing several more of these allowable matters.
                                                                                                                                             must meet to be registered by an independent tribunal. Until
system has been presided over by the Australian Industrial           Although the Government has held back for now on removing
                                                                                                                                             now, both types of agreements have had to pass the no-
Relations Commission and state industrial tribunals.                 skill based career structures from awards, it has announced a 12
                                                                                                                                             disadvantage test in relation to awards. Awards currently
                                                                     month review of award classification structures with the ominous
MOVE TO DECENTRALISATION                                                                                                                     contain award rates of pay and conditions included in the 20
                                                                     objective of ‘rationalising’ these structures. Skill based career
                                                                                                                                             allowable matters, set by the Australian Industrial Relations
                                                                     structures have only recently been inserted in some awards in
The Government is strongly committed to increasing the                                                                                       Commission. The new standard against which agreements
                                                                     female dominated industries and occupations, providing long-
decentralisation of wages bargaining. The Federal Treasurer,                                                                                 will be measured will include only five minimums: the minimum
                                                                     awaited opportunities for improvements in pay equity.
Peter Costello, has stated “We should be trying to move to an                                                                                award rates set by the Fair Pay Commission and a bare four
industrial relations system where the predominant instrument         WHY A STRONG AWARD SYSTEM IS IMPORTANT                                  matters set directly by the Government via legislation. Women
is the individual contract.” (The Age, 19 February 2005).                                                                                    workers employed under AWAs and collective agreements,
   For this reason, the Government is attacking both the
                                                                     FOR WOMEN’S PAY                                                         as well as those reliant on awards only, are likely to suffer lower
award system and collective bargaining, and making it easier         Despite the growth of enterprise bargaining and Australian              wages and poorer conditions as a result of these measures.
for employees to be pressured into signing AWAs as an                Workplace Agreements, 1.6 million Australian working people
alternative to awards and agreements. The Government has             (19.9% of workers) still rely only on awards to protect their pay
also announced that it will reduce the current standards for         and conditions, and 60% of these are women. They are generally
collective agreements and AWAs.                                      found in industries where women are heavily concentrated,
                                                                     including accommodation, cafes and restaurants, retail trade
                                                                     and health and community services. So any attack on the
                                                                     award system, particularly on minimum rates, is likely to have a
                                                                     disproportionate effect on women’s pay.

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Description: PAY EQUITY