One of the more remarkable events in New Zealand politics recently has been the prominence of the debate over gender pay gaps and in particular pay equity. It is pleasing to see that at least with respect to pay equity there is now some movement and it is especially pleasing to see NZEI Te Riu Roa at the forefront.
The shameful attempts of the current Government to shut down movement on pay equity dated right from the start of this government. Unfortunately, our education support workers (ESWs) were caught up in that and their completed employment equity review and associated recommendations were not advanced.
But now it has all come back – as is always the case with unsettled injustices. The pay gap for these ESWs has not been fixed and is likely to have worsened. Their case for pay justice now is proceeding through the legal system, commencing with mediation where we hope to begin negotiations to correct this wrong. Failing that we will litigate as is their right to have their case heard and determined.
And right behind them, we will be advancing cases for teacher aides and other groups of support staff. We are also looking closely at a case for early childhood teachers.
The ongoing refusal of the Government to recognise the pay justice needed for these occupational groups will be addressed by their union – either through negotiation or through litigation. But it will be fixed.