Pay Equity NOW 02-06 - PSI

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Pay Equity NOW 02-06 - PSI Powered By Docstoc
					Editor: Rae Anne Medforth                                                                                         February 2006

Pay Equity NOW! is an electronic newsletter produced by Public Services International as part of its pay equity campaign. It
provides information on pay equity concerns and achievements, including reports of union activities, information on collective
bargaining and equality issues, job evaluation schemes, training and capacity-building initiatives, and details of new research and
publications. It also monitors legislative developments and government and employer initiatives. It is produced every two months in
English and Spanish. You can subscribe on-line at, or email us at Your
contributions and comments are welcome.

Caribbean: PSA meets with chief                                      Prospects looks grim for pay equity in
personnel officer over job evaluation                                Australia
               The Public Services Association (PSA)                                   In Australia advances made in pay
               of Trinidad and Tobago has met with the                                 equity and workplace equality have
               Chief Personnel Officer and KPMG                                        taken a turn for the worse. The
               project team to formally discuss the                                    conservative Federal Government
               union's concerns over a job evaluation                                  gained control of the Senate in July
               system being proposed for the                                           2005 and has taken the opportunity to
               country's public services. The meeting                push through industrial relations and welfare-to-work
               was attended by Daina Green, pay                      legislation that will result in the lowering of the
equity specialist with SEIU (Canada), and Sandra                     minimum wage and the removal of many worker
Massiah, PSI's Sub-regional Secretary for the                        entitlements. The industrial relations legislation
Caribbean.                                                           effectively abolishes awards, leaves workers with five
During the meeting the union remained firm about                     bare minimum entitlements, and removes unfair
deficiencies in the proposed system and issues which                 dismissal protections from most workers. The
required correction before implementation. President                 legislation also severely restricts the ability of unions to
of the PSA, Jennifer Baptiste-Primus (pictured below),               organise and represent their members. The welfare
also noted problems in communication between the                     legislation leaves many workers in position of having to
CPO's office and the PSA which have led to delays,                   accept low paid jobs or have their benefits cut.
incorrect assumptions, and misunderstandings                         Pay equity gains in the various State jurisdictions are
between the parties.                                                 in danger of being lost. The Federal Government has
                                                                     instituted an award rationalisation process which will
                                                                     reduce the number of awards, disallow many
                                                                     entitlements, and compress classification structures.
                                                                     Previous decisions at State level which have set the
                                                                     principles by which women's work was valued and
                                                                     properly remunerated will be lost. The Federal
                                                                     Government in Australia has lagged behind other
                                                                     countries such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand
                                                                     and Canada in attempting to redress the problem of
                                                                     pay equity. Most state governments have held
                                                                     inquiries, and state tribunals have been able to make
PSA presented concerns over the job evaluation                       decisions on cases taken by trade unions to have work
instruments and the process involved in implementing                 properly valued and remunerated.
the system. The union also pointed out that the guide                                       The Federal Government has a
chart system is more than 50 years old; was                                                 very poor record on pay equity. It
constructed to measure executive and managerial                                             has objected in all cases before the
jobs; and that KPMG has never adapted it for use with                                       Industrial Commission to fair
service-oriented or other occupations in the public                                         increases in the minimum wage,
service. In addition, pilot test evaluations are not                                        and to test cases on issues such
documented, so that neither the job holders nor the                                         as work and family, reasonable
union can verify the rationale for rating decisions. Nor             hours and equal remuneration.
is it possible to verify the consistency of decisions. The           A fair minimum wage rate, legislated entitlements,
PSA has scheduled further meetings with the Chief                    transparent skill and classification structures and a
Personnel Officer to resolve these differences.                      trade union movement which can legitimately pursue
 Contributed by Sandra Massiah, PSI's Sub-regional                  the interests of their members are important in
Secretary for the Caribbean:                   improving gender inequality in the workforce and pay
                                                                     equity. In Australia the future for pay equity looks grim.
 Contribution by Suzanne Hammond, Federal                  Air Canada insisted that, as the three groups were in
Industrial Officer CPSU-SPSF           different bargaining units, they all worked in different
                                                            "establishments". The Commission and CUPE
                                                            disagreed, and the issue went to a Canadian Human
World Social Forum Venezuela                                Rights Tribunal, and then onto the Federal Court, Trial
                     The PSI held three activities on key   Division. They have ruled that the Tribunal did not err
                     labour issues at the World Social      in its interpretation of the word "establishment".
                     Forum, which took place this           "This is an important win for all unions, since the courts
                     January in Caracas, Venezuela. In      have ruled once and for all that "establishment" cannot
                     the well-attended session on pay       be equated with "bargaining unit" or "collective
                     equity, PSI activists from Ecuador,    agreement"," says Paul Moist, President of CUPE
                     Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela      National. "The ruling affects not only Air Canada flight
                     presented reports on progress          attendants, but any other unionised employee group
                     achieved by their unions in the        that has been denied a pay equity review."
international Pay Equity Now! campaign. Daina Green,         For more information visit
pay equity specialist from SEIU Canada, moderated
the session, and presented key principles in achieving
pay equity for unionised women.                             Brazil: Bi-partite equality committees at
Goretti Jácome reported that studies conducted by           municipal level
women activists in a number of Ecuadorian public            During 2005 the women's committees of the PSI
sector workplaces showed women heavily                      affiliates in Brazil organised a series of six training
concentrated in low-wage jobs. The group used               programmes on pay equity. Two were held at sectoral
sophisticated analysis to identify elements in the pay      level for municipal workers and the private health
disparities between men and women in different types        sector and four were conducted at state level. In all
of workplaces. Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, President of       programmes a number of senior male leaders were
the Public Services Association of Trinidad and             also invited to attend. On average, 25% of the
Tobago, presented the current case concerning the           participants were men. In this way it is expected that
new job evaluation system introduced by the                 equal pay issues will be better mainstreamed into
government without considering gender (as described         union priorities for collective bargaining. Another aim of
above). Activist Jeannette Piango, from the WSF's           the programme has been to promote bi-partite equality
host country of Venezuela, explained how unions are         committees. The first has now been established in the
working with government to propose new policies and         Prefecture of Quixada, Caerá State. More are planned
specific legislation on pay equity.                         for next year. The training programmes will continue in
Labour lawyer and international pay equity expert from      2006, with generous support from IMPACT Ireland,
Canada, Mary Cornish, emphasised the importance of          and will focus on training equality negotiators.
achieving a legal framework to ensure employers do           For more see:
not reverse gains made towards reducing the gender
wage gap.
There was a lively discussion among the participants
from many countries. All those in attendance will be        Brazil: Women of colour receive half pay
invited to join the list-serv for Spanish and Portuguese    Women of colour in Brazil receive, on average, half the
speakers to continue the exchange of experiences and        wages paid to white female workers. This was one of
information.                                                the findings of a survey conducted by the Special
 Contribution by Daina Green, SEIU Canada                  Secretariat for Women's Policies, based on data
                                                            gathered between July and September 2005, in six
                                                            Brazilian state capitals.
Canada: Flight attendants can proceed                       According to the study, the biggest difference exists in
with pay equity claim                                       the city of Salvador, Bahia, where women of colour
                The Supreme Court of Canada has             receive, on average, US$247 per month, compared
                handed down a unanimous decision            with white women's US$598 per month. In Rio de
                dismissing Air Canada's appeal on pay       Janeiro white female workers received US$468 per
                equity. The decision paves the way for      month, whilst their black counterparts earned half this
the union to prove that Air Canada is discriminating        amount. According to Fontes, the data indicates that
against flight attendants, a predominantly female           the government should make a greater effort to
workforce.                                                  address the issue of race and gender, investing in
"We started this fight back in 1991," says Pamela           schooling, job training for women, and raising
Sachs, President, and Air Canada Component of               awareness about workers' rights.
CUPE. "We have spent 15 years arguing that flight           The study, which was completed in December,
attendants work for the same "establishment" as Air         covered the cities of Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, São
Canada's pilots and technical operations personnel."        Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Recife, and Porto Alegre. The
The Flight Attendant's Union launched a human rights        research was based on data from the Brazilian
complaint in 1991, claiming that Air Canada                 Institute of Geography and Statistics' (IBGE) Monthly
discriminated against flight attendants by paying them      Employment Survey.
differently than mechanics and pilots, who are               For more information visit
predominately male.                               
UK: 30th anniversary of the Sex                             Peter Hunter, Unison Scotland's legal officer, said the
Discrimination Act and Equal Pay Act                        tribunal decision had wide-ranging implications in the
                      New statistics to mark the 30th       current debate over the introduction of equal pay and
                      anniversary of the Sex                single status in Scottish local government. He said:
                      Discrimination Act and Equal Pay      "This case shows that employers must act reasonably
                      Act show that progress has been       when changing terms and conditions, whether in a
                      made by women in education and        best-value review or any other situation."
                      the workplace, according to the        For more information visit Unison's website
                      Equal Opportunities Commission.
Jenny Watson (pictured), Chair of the Equal
Opportunities Commission, said:
"The achievements women have made in education              UK Prison Service pay equity case settled
are still not fully recognised in the workplace. For many                  The UK Prison Service has agreed to
women, sex equality is a thin veneer which vanishes                        settle over 3,300 equal pay cases
as soon as they take on caring                                             brought by the Public and Commercial
responsibilities. ...Women working part-time earn                          Services Union (PCS) at an approximate
nearly 40% less than full-time men, a pay penalty that                     cost of £50 million in back pay, the union
has hardly changed in 30 years."                            announced in January. Members will be recommended
 For more information see A report         to accept the settlement by PCS that follows an
on the past thirty years can be downloaded here: Then       Employment Tribunal and other court hearings dating
and Now: 30 years of the Sex Discrimination Act             from 1999. The union initially claimed for equal pay
(171kB).                                                    between mainly women working in support
                                                            administrative and managerial roles with male prison
                                                            officers and governors.
EU: Gender Equality Institute in 2007?                      Individual payouts will range from £500 to £50,000
The EU Committee on Women's Rights has adopted a            depending on the grade and the length of time an
planning report to set up a European Institute for          application has been lodged. The settlement will also
Gender Equality. While strongly supporting the              see existing pay scales revised with some starting
creation of this new Community body, Members of the         salaries rising by £3,000 pa. Pay gaps of up to £4,000
European Parliament (MEPs) wish to make it more             currently exist between the administrative and
effective by sharpening the focus of its work. It is        management grades when compared to equivalent
hoped the Institute will be able to start work in 2007.     prison officer and governor grades respectively. These
The report, drafted by Lissy Gröner and Amalia Sartori,     will be closed as part of the settlement.
was adopted with 23 votes to 3 with 0 abstentions.          Larry O'Callaghan, PCS negotiator said: "The PCS is
The Women's Committee wants the Institute to be             very pleased that after 7 years of litigation and indeed
more proactive by shifting the focus of its work away       previous years when unions raised these important
from collection and recording of data on gender             issues, the Prison Service has at last accepted their
equality towards the analysis of such data, enabling        responsibilities and confirmed equality between our
the EU to "effectively promote and implement gender         admin, support, typing, secretarial and executive
equality policy."                                           grades with the prison officers and related grades.
"PSI/EPSU together with the ETUC support the                One may have hoped that a Government Department
establishment of the Institute. They are calling for both   would support equality without the need for court
sides of the industry to be on the management board         hearings, but nevertheless welcome to the converted.
as full members with voting rights and not as observers     PCS will continue to represent our members in the
as currently proposed by the Commission and Member          Prison Service, and seek to contribute to an improved
States. The European Economic and Social                    service, enhancing the Prison Service for prisoners
Committee (composed of industry, trade union and            and their families and the criminal justice system."
civil society representatives) supports our demand,"         For more information visit PCS's website
said Nadja Salson of PSI/EPSU.                    
Nadja also said "PSI/EPSU would like the Institute to
collect sectoral data covering all the public sector
including administration and public services and            PSI consultancy opportunity
gender impact assessment of internal market rules and       As part of the evaluation of the 5-year global pay
directives."                                                equity campaign, PSI is looking for two consultants to
 For more information visit    conduct an external evaluation of the programme. PSI
                                                            is hoping to contract one pay equity specialist with
                                                            experience in working with the trade union movement
Scottish museum workers win equal pay                       and one specialist in gender and development. The
                                                            evaluation is scheduled to take place in April and May
tribunals                                                   2006. For more details and the terms of reference for
Five museum workers have won a series of                    the evaluation and consultancy, please contact
employment tribunals that could have far-reaching 
consequences for equal pay deals with local
authorities across Scotland. The employees at the
Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow have been awarded
a total of more than £20,000 for unfair dismissal.

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