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Issue #1487      2  February 2011

Support Equal Pay Case

Australian Services Union calls for mobilisation

Employer’s First and Australian Business Industrial (ABI) are two of the industry employer groups who have filed their submission in the Equal Pay Case. Despite the thousands of pages of evidence from service providers and from staff, these two representatives of big business say: “You’re not worth one cent more”.

These organisations claim to represent employers in the community sector and yet neither can produce one witness who supports their submissions! It is impossible to understand how any organisation, that genuinely represents the interests of employers in the sector, could say the things they do. It is time to ask some serious questions about the role these organisations play in our industry.

You cannot say you support equal pay and be a member of Employers First or ABI: It is simply not possible. Unless employers distance themselves from the things said by Employers First and ABI, then they will be taken to support them.

What Employers First Says:

  • SACS (Social and Community Services) workers should not get public sector rates of pay - it is not the right industry to compare our work to;
  • Award rates of pay are good enough and already provide equal pay;
  • That the SACS industry is NOT characterised by:
  • High percentage of part-time and casual work (workers choose this and receive better pay)
  • Low levels of enterprise bargaining or small workplaces with limited career opportunities
  • Granting equal pay to SACS workers would have “serious implications for productivity and economic growth”. This will negatively effect the “viability and performance” of the SACS industry
  • If SACS workers win equal pay, other low paid women might get a pay rise as well!
  • The sleepover provisions in the modern award should not be improved.

What ABI says:

  • The modern award rates of pay are already appropriate for the skill, responsibility and conditions under which work is performed;
  • SACS workers should not try and compare the value of our work with the public sector;
  • Government funding is why SACS workers are lowly paid, not because it is a feminised industry so we should not attempt to get equal pay via a court;
  • Fair Work Australia should ignore and dismiss the Queensland SACS decision;
  • Employers cannot offer wage rises through enterprise bargaining because of funding, but SACS workers should bargain for equal pay rather than running an equal pay case!
  • the sleepover provisions should not be improved.

Employers First and ABI argue that they represent lots of community sector employers.

Is your employer a member of one of these organisations? asks the ASU.

If so, your employer is a member of organisations that may STOP us winning equal pay.

”January 31 to February 8 are OUR DAYS IN COURT!”

Commencing Monday January 31st, the Full Bench of Fair Work Australia will hear parts of the case for Equal Pay.

“This is our opportunity to participate in this historic case, that could affect our work and our sector forever. If we win we make history. It’s an experience not to be missed.”

The ASU office is organising a roster of supporters.

”We need to fill the court room each morning and afternoon of the hearings. Talk to your co-workers, get a group together (clients and community members are welcome to attend too) and register the preferred times with the Union Office. We’ll book out AM and PM shifts for each of the days and get back to you once you’ve registered your preference.

BE IN FAIR WORK AUSTRALIA TO HEAR YOUR EQUAL PAY CASE!

Call the ASU on 02 9310 4000 for details and to let us know when you can make it.  

Next article – “Gross invasion of privacy”

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