“Union” seems to be becoming a dirty word again these days. I am not only an active member of my Union, the Australian Services Union, but also a union delegate for my workplace. And so I’m proud as punch that yesterday, I became an important part of Australian History.
The ASU submitted a claim to the newly formed Fair Work Australia in 2010, claiming that community sector workers are underpaid for the work they do and the qualifications they hold, as compared to public sector workers in comparable roles. And the reason for this is because we are a female dominated industry.
Yesterday the FWA handed down a ruling to say that they agree with us. And that we should be paid approximately 30% more than we are.
Here’s the main points from the ASU NSW President, Sally McManus:
• The work of social and community service workers has been undervalued on the basis of gender.
• The rates of pay should be significantly increased
• The rates of pay should effectively be the same as the Queensland rates of pay
• The new rates should phase in over an 8 year period not a 6 year period
• The graduate entry points for 3 and 4 year graduates should be increased one pay point on the new Modern Award scale so that they are the same as the Queensland Awards for 3 and 4 year graduates should be increased one pay point on the new Modern Award scale so that they are the same as the Queensland Award
But who cares about the details right now. The point is, everyone who was a part of this campaign should celebrate! It is the first of its kind in the world, and the most important decision for equality of women in the workforce for 30 years.
Come next week, my pay won’t be any larger, but it does mean that I (and so many other community sector workers) are more likely to still be here in 10 years, which would be the case if this decision had gone against us.