WA next in line for pay equity

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WA next in line for pay equity

Mayman said while the reasons for the WA pay differential were unclear, a number of factors could be involved, including:

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In the wake of the NSW and Tasmanian equal remuneration principles handed down in recent weeks, Western Australian employers and unions are expected to start timetabling discussions for adoption of an equivalent principle in that state.

Pay inequity is of great concern in WA, with research commissioned by Labour Relations Minister Cheryl Edwardes revealing last year that WA women were earning significantly less than their counterparts in other states.

Edwardes set up a pay equity taskforce in response to the research, but the Taskforce has no power to recommend any changes relating to the industrial framework.

The Taskforce, composed of representatives of the Minister, Equal Opportunities Commission, Unions WA, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Mines and Metals Association, and the Departments of Labour Relations and Women’s Interests is currently reviewing a draft report.

Meanwhile, timetabling is about to start for discussions towards a WA pay equity principle.

Unions WA filed a claim with the recent state wage claim not only to flow on federal increases but also to insert two new principles – on good faith bargaining and equal pay.

The bench split the claim, flowing on the wages part of the application but holding off on the other two.

Unions WA assistant secretary Stephanie Mayman said the parties had been waiting for a decision in NSW before proceeding. She said the principle was similar to the NSW one, but applicable to the Act and IR conditions of WA. The employers and Government have objected to the principles, but parties will discuss their differences.

Mayman said while the reasons for the WA pay differential were unclear, a number of factors could be involved, including:

  • Very marked occupational segregation in WA
  • Conservative WA views as regards the role of women
  • Lower rates of unionisation of women in WA
  • Fewer women taking up training opportunities.
 
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