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Protestors push for equal pay

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Pansy Wong
Pansy Wong

Wellington, June 30 NZPA - About 40 people gathered outside Parliament today to protest about the gender pay gap.

Members and supporters of the Pay Equity Coalition assembled with placards, banners and five large, fake rocks -- a reference to Women's Affairs Minister Pansy Wong's vow last year "to leave no stone unturned in trying to close the pay gap".

On each rock was a suggestion to remedy the gender pay disparity.

Coalition spokeswoman Angela McLeod told NZPA women were paid, on average, 12 percent less per hour than men.

The group -- which included members of the Public Service Association, New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and the Services and Food Workers Union -- were calling for legislation to address pay inequality, she said.

The protest also marked the anniversary of the Labour Department's closure of its Pay and Employment Equity Unit.

"We actually think there needs to be action now. We have all those pay and employment equity investigations and there's some that haven't even been honoured," she said.

"We want legislation, the Equal Pay Act of 1972 is ineffective, and it was made ineffective with the Employment Contracts Act."

Ms McLeod said she was not confident the minister would acknowledge the protest or make any changes in response.

Aged care worker Francess Whaanga said she was "disappointed" by her hourly rate.

"I've been in this industry of 20 years and I'm just on $14, things have just started to happen in the last couple of years, since I've been in the union," she said.

"I believe we deserve more and should be acknowledged for the hard work we put in, and I put in extra for the elderly, it's the passion I have."

Mrs Whaanga, an NZNO delegate, said she earned $8 an hour when she first began working as a carer.

"I haven't moved much. The only reason I've moved is because I've joined the union and I've been quite a big participant in it and I love it," she said.

"I just find it rewarding for me, but not the money."

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