On 8 June I joined many of my parliamentary Labor colleagues, along with thousands of other Victorians, to rally to fight for equal pay in the equal pay case currently before Fair Work Australia. In the most significant equal pay decision since the 1969 adoption of equal pay for work of equal value, Fair Work Australia has found:
“… for employees in the SACS –“
that is, social and community services —
“industry there is not equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal or comparable value by comparison with workers in state and local government employment.
We consider gender has been important in creating the gap between pay in the SACS industry and pay in comparable state and local government employment. And, in order to give effect to the equal remuneration provisions, the proper approach is to attempt to identify the extent to which gender has inhibited wages growth in the SACS industry and to mould a remedy which addresses that situation.”
Although this case has not concluded, Fair Work Australia has identified gender as an issue contributing to the low wages of community sector workers.
Before the November 2010 election the former Labor government committed to fully funding the outcome of the equal pay test case for social and community services workers.
This morning I use this opportunity to call on the coalition government to support the community sector workers by committing to properly funding the pay increases that will result from the Australian Services Union’s equal remuneration case.