O'Farrell moves to delay equal pay for six years
Premier Barry O'Farrell has broken his election commitment to give low paid social and community sector workers equal pay in NSW – and moved to delay giving the workers equal pay for up to six years.
In February, Fair Work Australia granted social and community service workers pay increases of between 19 and 41 per cent as a result of the landmark equal pay case – but the O'Farrell Government is moving to delay giving NSW workers their wage increase for six years.
"The 30,000 low paid social and community workers who were promised equal pay by Barry O'Farrell during the election campaign have every right to be furious with the Premier for trying to back out of this deal," Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, Barbara Perry said.
Before the last election, the O'Farrell Government supported the case:
"Pru Goward, as Shadow Minister for Women, has stated that a Liberal Government would commit to supporting the outcomes of the case. Ms Goward has been a long term and vocal supporter of equal pay."
(Women's Electoral Lobby, Pay equity – where do the parties stand in NSW? 22 March 2011)
"Barry O'Farrell has turned his back on the workers who support some of NSW's most vulnerable people, including families in crisis, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence and the homeless," Ms Perry said.
"By refusing to back equal pay for some our most low paid, predominantly female workers, Barry O'Farrell is only making life more difficult for those who can least afford it."
Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations and Women, Sophie Cotsis said: "If the Premier cared about closing the 18 per cent pay gap between men and women, he would fund this equal pay case."
"The Federal Labor Government has provided $2 billion to fund equal pay while returning their Budget to surplus.
"The Premier ought to be ashamed of himself for trying to delay paying social and community sector workers a fair and equal wage.
"The O'Farrell Government promised the social and community sector workers a fair and equitable pay rise prior to the election, but now the Premier is turning his back on the workers the most needy in our society rely on."
Currently, the average full-time wage for social and community service workers is $46,000.
This is $12,000 less than the average full-time wage for all workers, the equivalent of working seven extra weeks per year for free.
Tags: Barbara Perry, Barry O'Farrell, community, community services, equal pay, Fair Work, Industrial relations, Pru Goward, Sophie Cotsis