ACT community service workers closer to equal pay
Federal Labor representatives for the ACT, Senator Kate Lundy, Gai Brodtmann and Dr Andrew Leigh, today welcomed the announcement that more than 3,000 ACT workers in the social and community sector are a step closer to achieving equal pay after the Gillard Government announced it will provide $2 billion to deliver an historic pay rise to workers in the sector.
“These workers, many of them women, are in critical jobs caring for people with disabilities, counselling families in crisis, running homeless shelters and working with victims of domestic or sexual assault,” Ms Brodtmann said.
“They make a difference every day and deserve to be properly rewarded for their efforts.
“This historic commitment from the Government will help 150,000 Australians, including 120,000 women, achieve the equal pay they deserve.”
The Gillard Government will submit a joint proposal with the Australian Services Union to Fair Work Australia which, if accepted, will help close the pay gap between men and women and fund the Government’s fair share of wage increases for workers in the social and community services sector.
Nearly two thirds of community sector workers have post-school qualification, compared to just over half of workers in other industries, yet the average full time wage is just over $46,000 per year, compared to the average wage of $58,000.
Senator Lundy said the Government’s announcement will help deliver an historic pay rise to workers in the community sector, including more than 3000 people in the Australian Capital Territory.
“Workers in the industry have long been undervalued because their work has traditionally been seen as being associated exclusively with women,” Senator Lundy said.
“In 2011, it is unacceptable that women in full-time work earn on average one fifth less than men. This means that over the course of a calendar year women work nearly seven weeks for free.
“The Gillard Government is committed to achieving a fair outcome for workers in this sector whose work has long been undervalued.”
Dr Andrew Leigh said workers in organisations like Canberra Rape Crisis Centre will benefit from the Government’s proposal.
“Community service workers such as those at Canberra Rape Crisis Centre are delivering critical services to vulnerable Australians who need it most,” Dr Leigh said.
“If the Government’s submission is supported by FWA it will not just mean fair pay, it will mean tens of thousands of working people and their families will take home a bigger pay packet at the end of the day.”
Executive Officer of the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, Chrystina Stanford welcomed today’s announcement.
“The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre is overjoyed at the historic announcement today regarding equal pay,” Ms Stanford said.
“The women’s services sector has given so much to the community, and been the advocates for so many vulnerable groups in our community, yet up until today have worked tirelessly in poorly paid positions, meaning that a good quality of life has never been able to be attained,” Ms Stanford said.