Community workers demand Equal Pay now
by Alice M
“We’ve won the legal argument
We’ve won the moral argument
Now we have to win the money!
It’s time to Fight!”
Community sector workers and their union, the Australian Services Union, had an historic win in the fi rst stage of their protracted fi ght for equal pay for work of equal value.
The vigorous union and community campaign forced Fair Work Australia into making a ruling that social and community sector workers, most of whom are women, should be receiving equal pay for work of equal value.
It agreed with what is widely accepted by the public that social and community workers are undervalued and underpaid, on the basis of gender inequity and the undervaluing of community work, done mainly by women who are the cheap source of labour.
The Fair Work decision is the result of hard and persistent work by the union and many of its dedicated members and supporters across the country. The backbone of their campaign was the mobilised members and supporters from other unions and communities engaged in many creative forms of action in workplaces and beyond.
Taking their campaign out to workers and communities in the streets and workplaces ensured they kept the campaign in their hands and prevented it from being diverted and isolated into the dead end corridors of courts and legal arguments.
Unfortunately, Fair Work Australia’s decision went no further, stopping short of directing governments and private providers to implement its ruling.
Another lip service to women working in the community sector.
Instead, Fair Work Australia has invited governments and agencies to provide their wish lists of how much they want, or don’t want, to pay the social and community workers.
Throughout the equal pay campaign and court hearings the state and federal governments and private agencies have been bleating about budget restrictions, leaving them with no money for equal pay claims and making threats of job losses and cuts to essential community services.
Mining bosses can afford to pay
Even blind Freddie can see that governments’ claims of not enough money in the economy to bring up the community workers’ pay equal to the modest pay levels of their counterparts in the public service sector, is nothing but spin.
Australia is a rich country with enormous wealth created from national natural resources and the labour of workers.
Bloated rich mining corporations are raking in billions in record profi ts. They pay little taxes on their super profi ts, but use public infrastructure and services built and provided out of people’s taxes.
Much of these profi ts are sent overseas to the head offi ces of multinational mining corporations.
Mining monopolies clocked up the biggest super profi ts of all companies operating in Australia over past 12 months. Yet, the biggest mining corporations account for only 10% of total company tax revenue.
The ASU and community sector unions are stepping up their fi ght and are calling on unions and communities to mobilise for national mass rallies on Wednesday 8th June to send governments and Fair Work Australia a strong message that the fi ght for equal pay is not over, with the whole union movement and communities supporting this important struggle.
Tax the profi ts of mining monopolies to pay for equal pay!
Tomado de Vanguardia, órgano del Partido Comunista de Australia (Marxista Leninista)