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Significant settlement offer shows the power of unions for women’s equality

The union movement today celebrated another pay equity offer of settlement, with the Public Service Association securing an offer for social workers at Oranga Tamariki that would lift their pay on average by just over 30 percent. Council of Trade Unions President Richard Wagstaff said the offer showed the power of unions to deliver pay equity settlements that significantly advance women’s equality in New Zealand.

“A 30 percent average pay rise is a credit to the PSA, and to these social workers who persisted so long helping Kiwi kids, despite being so underpaid. The settlement offer shows the value of union membership to rapidly advance women’s rights and economic equality in New Zealand. It will absolutely make a huge difference to the quality of our social workers’ lives.”

“We estimate that over 63,000 working people have now had a pay equity settlement or offer, and all of them have been through women joining together in unions and winning their cases,” he said.

“The value of the settlements have been significant, because the pay injustice women have lived with has been so great. But when we speak to union members like social workers in Oranga Tamariki, every one of them tells us how much they love their jobs and using their skills to help others. These women want to continue doing people-focused work, and New Zealand really needs their careers to continue – so it’s only fair and reasonable they can put a roof over their own heads and provide for their families too.”

“In 125 years since women got the vote we have come a long way in New Zealand. However, it’s just the last few years that we have started properly valuing the kinds of work that mostly women do, particularly the complex emotional work that supports children and the elderly. The Public Service Association has secured this offer in less than three years from filing the claim. With every case that union women win, it will make the path faster and easier for the next group coming through.”