The meeting dates for the CTU Women's Council in 2012
February 16th; May 4th; August 10th ; November 9th
The CTU Women's Council Workplan and Priorities for 2011-2012:
Active union participation and recruitment; union women's leadership; elimination of violence against women; strengthening equity and socal justici; building political awareness and forging alliances and networks.
The CTU Women's Council produced this flier to identify the important issues for working women this election. Six issues were identified : Improved paid parental leave, Raising the minimum wage towards 2/3rds of the average wage, Ensuring equal pay for work of equal value, A decent standard of living for children and families/ whanau, Quality affordable early childhood education and Strong public services.
140 CTU women trade unionists met on the 19th and 20th of June 2011 at the CTU Biennial Women’s Conference for an inspiring and energising conference. The conference was opened by Helen Kelly President of the CTU, who spoke on the CTU election campaign and Union Change. Helen reminder the delegates that Governments have a choice even in tough economic times and the choices they make can make the difference. Other key speeches were from Judy McGregor, EEO Commissioner: Women at Work Diversity, Inclusion But where is the Equality? Mich Elle Myers from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) spoke on the No Silence; No Violence Project that the MUA have led; Suzanne Hammond of the Community and Public Services Union ( Australia) looked at how Australia women are doing on pay and employment equity- I’m All Right Jill.
Other key notes were Christine Ross of the Pubic Services Association: Constructing Workplace Democracy-Women’s Voice in NZ Public Services and Jane Parker and Julie Douglas: The Role of Women’s Groups in New Zealand, UK and Canadian Trade Unions in Addressing Intersectional Interests.
Delegates at the conference developed priorities which will become the work plan of the CTU Womens’ Council over the next two years:
- Active participation and recruitment of women in unions and workplaces
- Build women’s leadership in workplaces, unions and the wider community
- Create workplaces based on dignity and respect, free from bullying and harassment
- Raise political awareness and education to achieve change for women
- Work to achieve a socially just society, including valuing women’s work and early childhood education
- Campaign for Pay Equity and Effective Legislation.
For further information or any conference presentations or papers please contact the CTU or your women’s council delegate.
How are women represented in the CTU?
Through the CTU Women's Council. The Women's Council is a formal part of the CTU structure with women representatives from each of the affiliated unions, Te Runanga o nga Kaimahi Maori, Kometi Pasefika, Out@Work and StandUp.
The Council meets regularly throughout the year and sets goals that guide its activity. It elects two co-convenors who have speaking rights at the CTU National Affiliates Council. The Council holds a biennial conference with representatives from all CTU unions (see story on the 2009 conference below). It has representatives on the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women and the New Horizon's for Women Trust. The Council also liaises closely with the National Council of Women and the Ministry of Women's Affairs.
Council Meetings in 2011
The Council meetings for 2011 are:
- 11 February
- 5 May
- 30 September
- 17 November
Dates for 2012
Contact the Council co-convenors.
The Council's Goals
The Women's Council promotes and supports the goals set by its annual conference. The current goals of the Women's Council are:
- Enable women workers to utilise quality flexible working hours legislation
- Promote working women's issues by developing and supporting strong effective networks
- Promote work rights and unionisation for women
- Develop political awarenes, activism and leadership of union women
- Acheive fair pay and address low pay and pay and employment equity
The CTU is committed to action on pay and employment equity on all fronts: political, industrial and campaigning. Unions are not alone in calling for pay and employment equity and the CTU and CTU unions are part of the Pay and Employment Equity Coalition. The Coalition holds regular events around the country. To find out what's happening and to join in visit the Coalition's webpage or the CTU’s pay equity campaign page. The TEU pay equity campaign page also contains useful information about pay and employment equity and links to the pay equity campaign pages of other unions. The Human Rights Commission has produced a useful self assessment and monitoring tool that allows companies and organisations to work out whether they have a pay equity problem and identify what they can do about it.
Pay and employment equity is a union issue. It is a human rights issue, a social justice issue and an economic issue. There is a persistent pay gap between women's and men's wages. Women’s hourly earnings are on average 12 to 15% less than men. But the annual earnings gap is much wider. The current Government has abolished the Pay and Employment Equity Unity which had been set up to implement a Plan of Action to reduce the gender pay gap and ensure pay and employment equity in the public sector.
The CTU Women's Council have made two submissions on the New Zealand NGO Shadow report on CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) . Module 4 of the NGO shadow report process is on Discrimination and the Law. The Women's Council have commented extensively on pay and employment legislation and pay equity in this submission.
Hon Peter Dunne, the Minister of Revenue has released a discussion paper on income splitting - this is where the tax paid by a couple is calculated based on half of their shared income. On the face of it, income splitting might look like something that would benefit women workers, however there are some major fish-hooks that mean that it's not that simple. The pros and cons are discussed in a previous CTU submission on income splitting (available in the submission section below).
Low paid school support staff have recently won pay increases through bargaining but other women in low paid jobs, including clerical staff in South Island DHBs, hospital and school cleaners and aged care and disability care workers are still campaigning for a fair deal. The CTU unions have joined together to campaign against low pay. At the end of last year there were low pay rallies around the country.
Information about other workplace issues affecting women
New Zealand women trade unionists supporting women of Burma
Through UnionAid the NZCTU Women's Council supports programmes for Burmese migrant workers living and working on the Thai/Burma border to strengthen understanding of labour rights, improve knowledge and awareness of health and safety rights for workers and to increase their economic independence. Over 80% of these workers are women. Read more >> (word doc 78kb)
Getting more women involved in unions
This year the Human Rights Commission is conducting its biennial audit of women's participation. This looks at how many and how women are participating in different aspects of life here in New Zealand - including in unions. Here's a link to the last audit they did in 2008.
The International Trades Union Congress has an action programme on achieving gender equality in trade unions. Any union can use this to help eliminate any discrimination and promote full participation of women in trade unions.
First ever ITUC Women's Conference
The International Trades Union Confederation held its first ever women's conference last year. Shelley Weir, TIASA National President and Suzanne McNabb, CTU Women's Council co-convenor made up our delegation. Read Shelley's interesting report to the Women's Council here >> (pdf 200kb)
Many CTU unions have women's networks. To find out what's happening in different unions follow the links below:
- Tertiary Education Union
- National Distribution Union
- Public Service Association
- Service and Food Worker's Union
- New Zealand Educational Institute
- Post Primary Teachers' Association
- Dairy Workers' Union
- New Zealand Nurses Organisation
International union women's networks:
- International Trades Union Congress Women
- International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Women
- Public Services International Women
- Education International Women
- Union Network International Women
Other interesting links:
- The Hand Mirror - New Zealand based feminist blog
- Breast Feeding Submission (Word doc 218 kb)
- Income splitting for families with children (Word doc 278 kb)
- Employment Relations (Breaks and Infant Feeding) Amendment Bill (Word doc 276 kb)
Biennial Women's Conference 2009
The Biennial NZCTU Women's Conference was held on the 10th and 11th of July 2009. The theme of the conference was
Union Women: Organising our World – Local to Global
For more pictures of the conference click here and here.
March 2012: Union Women Focus on Domestic Workers
See our press release joining the international campaign to secure rights for the over 100 million domestic workers world wide.
JULY 2010: The Human Rights Commission has capped off two years of touring the country and talking to people about what would make things better for them at work with a great report that makes recommendations around acheiving equal employment opportunities (EEO) in the workplace. Their priorities for EEO include ensuring equitable access to affordable quality childcare, especially in rural areas and implementing strategies to acheive pay equity.
JULY 2010: The Charities Commission has decided to remove charitable status from the National Council of Women (NCW) because of the advocacy aspect of its role. The NCW has been a strong advocate for women for more than 100 years. This decision will severly restrict where the NCW can get funding from. To find out how you can support the NCW to retain its status, go here.
MAY 2010: Labour MP Sue Moroney has proposed a bill extending the paid parental leave entitlement to 18 weeks. “From January 1, 2011, Australians will have 18 weeks paid parental leave. This has become a hot topic in their forthcoming election campaign with the Opposition promising to go to six months PPL. “So one way or the other, a gap will open up between us and Australia, unless our Government moves now. “I have structured my Bill so that New Zealand would also move to 18 weeks PPL on January 1 next year and then would add another 4 weeks PPL each year until we get to 26 weeks on January 1, 2013. “Being at home with baby for six months will take the pressure off families, give parents more time to bond with baby and make it easier for women to continue to breastfeed which has health benefits for baby. “This could save us a lot of grief and money downstream as a country. Supporting families is one of the best investments a Government can make."
FEBRUARY 2010: The National Council of Women has launched the CEDAW Project 2010. The aim of this project "is to bring women's and community groups together to discuss the Government's progress on addressing discrimination against women in New Zealand in law and the application of law". There are a number of events you can join in with.
FEBRUARY 2010: February 18 was Red Bag Day with activities around the country to draw attention to the fact that women's pay is in the red! See the pictures of the rally at Parliament here >>
JANUARY 2010: Pay Equity Coalition spokesperson Angela McLeod of the Business and Professional Women's Institue says the Government's decision to increase the minimum wage by only 2% will further compound pay inequities and shows that the Minister of Women's Affairs is unable to influence Cabinet about pay equity.
JANUARY 2010: By just 5 years after graduating, women are earning 17% less than the men they graduated with. Unequal starting salaries are the main problem. NZ Herald columist Jill South's message to women for 2010 is - negotiate what you want and get it.
DECEMBER 2009: School support workers have broken the pay freeze! After months of industrial action and campaigning to highlight their issue of low pay, these workers - who are mainly women - have won a settlement from the Government. Read more on the NZEI website.
DECEMBER 2009: The Government finally releases information from the pay and employment equity reviews conducted in the public service and schools. Read the CTU media release. Watch a video from TV3 News.
JULY 2009: CTU President Helen Kelly gave a speech at the latest ILO (International Labour Organisation) Conference about her disappointment at the National lead governments decision to dismantle the the programme on gender equity issues. Read CTU President Helen Kelly in the Dominion Post, 13 July 2009 Click here to download her full speech.
NOVEMBER 2009: Clerical workers in South Island District Health Boards - who are mainly women - are taking industrial action on low pay and on being paid less than their North Island Colleagues. Read more on the PSA website.
MAY 2010: The Working Women's Seminar was held on 1 May 2010 in Wellingtoncelebrating the adoption of the Working Women's Charter by the NZ Federation of Labour. It also marked 50 years since the passing of the Government Equal Pay Act 1950.
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