Is equality just a nice to have for women?

Yesterday the government acknowledged they would not rule out bringing in legislation to prevent women using the equal pay act to get decent pay.

This is of course in response to the Kristine Bartlett case that is challenging the gender bias of thousands of women being paid the minimum wage and just over for aged care work.

I have a copy of an aged care workers job description. Here are some highlights from the key performance indicators:
• Removal of waste,
• body removal,
• laundry and clothing tasks,
• clean the sluice room,
• clean up soiled areas,
• make beds,
• monitor and report on any changes or concerns in the health of residents,
• follow the directions and delegations of registered nurses, dieticians, physiotherapists, and administrators,
• actively participate in team meetings,
• actively support and comply with health and safety policy and procedures…

For all of this and much more, which has people’s lives and well-being at stake, care workers are paid on average about $14.30-50 ph. That’s less that I got for teaching the French horn when I was 16.

There have been multiple reports highlighting the injustice of this and harm of this. It is clearly acknowledged by most as gender based discrimination because traditional “women’s work” of caring, cleaning and clerical has never been paid decently and the 90% of the workers are still women.

That’s why the employment court ruling enabling Kristine Bartlett to use the equal pay act to challenge her low pay is so exciting.

To hear yesterday, on suffrage day, that the Government is considering intervening and will not rule out legislating against equal pay for women, is frankly outrageous. They seem to think our equality is just a nice to have.

7 thoughts on “Is equality just a nice to have for women?

  1. The dirty jobs very rarely pay the best money. That does sound backwards but it’s just the way it is.

    When I can employ people, or have employed people, I especially like to hire those nobody else will, lots of people will hire females though. I hired people with AD/HD, junkies, mentally subnormal, and then I paid them above the going rate for the job, and they were always dirty jobs.

    So the poor old rest home owners have to make a living, or they wouldn’t do it, that’s their business. Why would they hire people who cost more if it would mean their demise?

    What you’re complaining about is what you people have voted for, every time the country elects an anti union, pro unjust employer, government and lower taxes for the wealthy, that is precisely what they’re voting for. What do you want to do about it, do you want to be me and hire what others consider to be the dregs of society? Or do you want to pay more taxes so the employers have less money to spend on wages, not they they do actually spend their tax breaks on wages!

    If you want to change the way things are, you’re going to have to vote for changes, and not in silly referendums that have no effect at all, but that big referendum every 3 years.

  2. Some points

    1. nurses in hospitals are cutting back on care for patients because of staff shortages. Because of funding pressures they are not hiring temps, and new nurses (there is a surplus) have no experience or training in the work so were not hired.

    Read – nurses do the care work for patients at nurse pay rates and experience has a value in doing this work.

    Meanwhile care workers in rest homes doing the same work for many years experience get little more than the MW new care workers get.

    2. There is a growing demand for MW care workers as we prepare for baby boomers into retirement.

    So the government is work testing those on the DPB and SB, so they will do this MW work.

    Increasing the spare labour pool available for the work is of a design to keep the work at the MW level.

  3. When I was a young punk I thought the basic problem with society was that rich pricks were taking more than their fair share, leaving bugger all for the rest of us.

    Now, after many years of experience in and out of the workplace, much reading on economics and society, and hearing personal stories, I’ve come to the conclusion that the basic problem with society is that rich pricks are taking more than their fair share, leaving bugger all for the rest of us.

  4. “1. nurses in hospitals are cutting back on care for patients ”

    Are they? I had cause to be in hospital recently and apart from them wanting me to stay longer, I found the level of care adequate.

    “Increasing the spare labour pool available for the work is of a design to keep the work at the MW level.”

    Actually, it was the sex revolution of the 1960’s, where women took control of their own reproduction, that brought many more people into the workforce, all of whom were female, taking the jobs of the males. The females of course can elect to have babies and stay at home to care for them if they so choose. Men generally can’t, men are not considered highly if they elect to care for their children instead of going out to work.

    So if there are only a finite number of jobs out there, and if the workforce increases two fold, what do you think will happen to wages in the competition for work?

    A solution can be, force a parent to stay at home, encourage single parents not to work outside the home with tax incentives and average wage income. In all my years of working I have never earned the average wage, not even close to it, so I figure the average wage is a comfortable living wage.

    With zero unemployment, and adequate taxation, there is no need bother about what sex the person is who does the work.

  5. Oh 2 people (or accounts) don’t like the idea that when I hire, I hire the least likely to be hired by anybody, or is it my fundamental socialist politics they don’t like? Blame my parents, my father was the Secretary of the PSA, and my mother was a stalwart socialist and active Unionist her entire life.

    What’s missing in current society, laws supporting union activity and strong Trade Unions. I find it offensive that Harvey Norman in Palmerston North, forces teenage female employees to walk home on Sundays and after the last bus has left any other day, and give them no protection whatsoever. Not even a travel allowance, let alone a taxi fare!

    Will the millionaire who owns Harvey Norman go broke by providing adequate transport for his vulnerable employees? I don’t think so!

  6. SPC,

    Read – nurses do the care work for patients at nurse pay rates and experience has a value in doing this work.
    Meanwhile care workers in rest homes doing the same work for many years experience get little more than the MW new care workers get.

    My wife has been in the P.N. hospital for the last fortnight and has received some wonderful service from the nurses. As such, I feel obligated to step out of my comfort zone and attempt to defend nurses against what looks like an attempted equivocation with care workers in general.

    A nurse trains for upwards of three years in formal education and undergoes further extensive training when on the job. That on-the-job training is part of the wider job experience to which the employers would seem to ascribe value. Further, the care provided by nurses cannot be easily compared to that of care workers; while some aspects of the nurses job may involve the labours of care workers, the nurse must also constantly monitor patients, be able to draw on years of medical experience, do many of the jobs that doctors might be better doing, and, most importantly, know when to call the doctor in. The care work is not the same and a care worker could not be substituted for even the more mundane of a nurse’s roles; the names of a subset of the duties merely lend themselves to false equivocation.

    As to the value of experience for care workers; how does the service of a 20-year veteran surpass a 6-month new-recruit where it matters? That is to say, the more experienced person may provide a better service to the care recipient than the new-recruit, but how much does that difference really bother the client? The client, here, being the state. The experienced person provides minimal extra value to the company’s bottom line and as such receives minimal additional recompense. The performance indicators provided by Jan suggest the need for a dedicated, caring, or desperate individual, but little else in the way of skills that are not held by most everyone. As is the case with McDonalds, there is really very little financial motive to pay someone more than minimum wage when new people are just waiting at WINZ for a job to be found for, or forced on, them.

  7. The number of older people needing care is set to nearly treble globally by 2050, campaigners say.

    This report is a wake-up call to governments across the world about the immediate need to put in place more care and support”

    The report makes a range of recommendations including giving paid and unpaid carers “appropriate financial rewards” and monitoring the quality of care both in care homes and in the community.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24162509

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