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Provincial Election and Pay Equity: Looking for Clear Commitments

2014-08-28

With the provincial election at the door, the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity calls on the two major political parties to make clear commitments to ensure equal pay for work of equal value in the private sector.

“We need pay equity legislation for the private sector,” says Vallie Stearns, the Coalition’s Chair. “It is also urgent to conduct pay equity programmes for all private care-giving services, using recognized job evaluation methodology and providing the necessary funding to adjust wages in a timely manner.”

For the Coalition, that includes reviewing the pay equity programmes for the child care, home support, community residence and transition house workers because the methodology used by the government was flawed and led to shockingly low results.

“It is unacceptable to say that home support workers should earn as little as $13.15 per hour. Our research shows that they should earn around $20,” says Vallie Stearns. “We want pay equity, fair and square!”

So far, both the NDP and the Green Party’s promised to adopt pay equity legislation for the private sector. The Coalition welcomes their commitment.

The Liberals say that they will require firms that want to do business with the government to have established pay equity within their own firm.

“That is a good step forward,” says Vallie Stearns. “However, many care-giving agencies rely on government subsidies to provide government-mandated services. What can these agencies do if the government does not provide the necessary funding to ensure pay equity? And what about the women and men in all other private sector companies that do not do business with the government?”

The Progressive Conservatives say they will ensure that pay equity remains a priority in the private sector but gives no details on its plans.

“Given the poor results obtained for the home support, child care, transition house and community residence workers, we are worried. Will they improve their pay equity methodology? Will they have programmes for all other care-giving workers? What will they do for the rest of the private sector?” asks Vallie Stearns.

Approximately, 67% of working women in NB are in the private sector and the majority of them work in predominantly female jobs.

“Women participate actively in our economy. However, the qualifications, responsibilities, effort and working conditions associated with predominantly female jobs are often not valued. Consequently, many workers do not get the wages they deserve.”

Since the Coalition’s foundation, successive governments have not succeeded in bringing pay equity to the private sector.

“We want real action: pay equity legislation and well-done pay equity programmes for all care-giving services mandated by the government. It’s only fair!” concludes Vallie Stearns.

Pay equity is equal pay for work of equal value.

 

 

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