Darien Fenton |
Thursday, September 19, 2013 – 15:02
Labour Minister Simon Bridges might do well to take time on Suffrage Day to reflect on the impact his Employment Relations Amendment Bill will have on women’s pay and rights, says Labour Issues spokesperson, Darien Fenton.
“Women from all walks of working life, including cleaners, nurses and business and professional women, have warned that removing a duty to conclude a collective agreement and the 30 day rule – where new workers are offered collective agreement conditions – will have a negative impact on women and are likely to drive the gender pay gap down even further.
“One home support worker has told the committee hearing submissions on the Bill how she already works on an ‘assignment basis’, meaning she is only paid $14.10 an hour for the actual time she is with each client. She funds her own petrol to drive between each of them, during which time she gets no pay.
“If she is lucky, she will be texted another assignment during her working day. Life is tough enough already for her, but Mr Bridges is intent on making it even harder.
“Women’s work today is becoming more undervalued than ever and the Minister’s employment law changes will consign many more to the scrap heap of casual and precarious work.
“Mr Bridges has also refused to rule out legislating against the recent historic pay equity decision for Kristine Bartlett and other low paid women workers. That will come as a huge blow to everyone involved.
“We take pride in our country being the first to give women the vote, but there’s not much to celebrate when 120 years later, employment laws are going backwards for women, and the first positive decision in a very long time that recognises the inequity of women carers is also under threat.”