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Coffin Nailed Shut On Pay Parity

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, May 14 NZPA - The scrapping of the Labour Department's pay equity unit "nails the coffin shut" on gaining pay equity for women, the Public Service Association (PSA) says.

Just a day after the Ministry of Social Development said up to 200 jobs could be lost in a restructure, the Labour Department announced yesterday its pay and employment equity unit and labour market knowledge management unit were to be scrapped.

Seven jobs will go in the first unit, with Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson saying it was part of the "reprioritising" of government spending.

"Achieving the goal of closing the gap can't be realised by having a singular focus on the state sector," she said.

But PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said the unit was working to address a major injustice in New Zealand -- "the fact that women are paid on average 12 percent less than men primarily because they are women".

"This action nails the coffin shut on efforts to gain pay equity for women," he said.

"By scrapping the unit, the Government is turning its back on women in New Zealand and saying `we don't care that you're not being fairly rewarded for the work you do'."

A further 18 jobs would go in the labour market knowledge management unit, which would impact on employers' needs.

"These managers work with employers, industry groups, institutions providing skills training and local government in 12 regions, so that each region has the worker sit needs to keep its economy running," Mr Wagstaff said.

Labour's labour spokesman Trevor Mallard yesterday said New Zealand woman were being "ripped off" by the Government.

"Any professing of commitment buy National to addressing gender discrimination must be seen as worthless."

Women's affairs spokeswoman Sue Moroney said Women's Affairs Minister Pansy Wong had failed to advocate for women.

"She treats the gender gap as if it is a joke and hard-working women are losing out as a result.

"Women earn on average 12 percent less than men... we confirm our ongoing commitment to closing the gender pay gap and to genuine equality for New Zealand women."

Department chief executive Christopher Blake said it had been decided the regional delivery of labour market knowledge services was no longer a priority.

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