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The NB Coalition for Pay Equity reacts to the launch of Equality at Work

2009-12-08

The New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity stands firm: the days of voluntary measures in the private sector are long over. The government launched the Equality at Work program in spring 2009. Tuesday at a press conference, seven companies taking part in the project were presented.

 
As matters lie, nothing indicates that to obtain the Equality at Work designation, participants are required to implement pay equity. But the question remains unanswered. However, pay equity has been recognized as a human right by several international treaties signed by Canada. Everyone is responsible and accountable for protecting human rights – our province must enact and enforce legislation to ensure employers take the necessary steps.
 
On November 27, two days before Pay Equity Day, the minister responsible for the Status of Women, Mary Schryer, stated that the Government will not extend pay equity legislation to the private sector. (Evening News; Global Maritime TV – November 27, http://www.globalmaritimes.com/video/index.html, 17:00 - 14:43) She also added that our government believes the private sector will follow its example.
 
Underpaid workers who hold traditionally or predominantly female jobs, typically undervalued in the private sector, would certainly like their employers to follow with its example on pay equity. Unfortunately, reality isn’t so. In fact, after five years of “voluntary measures” as defined by New Brunswick’s Five-Year Wage Gap Action Plan 2005-2010, which includes the Equality at Work pilot project, the situation hasn’t improved.
 
“Justice cannot wait. People have been struggling for too long; more and more groups are demanding immediate respect for their human rights”, insists the president of the Coalition for Pay Equity, Marilyn MacCormack.
 
Although Fredericton recognizes its responsibility to five groups employed by organizations under contract with the government, it is simply unacceptable that they refuse to compel other employers to implement pay equity.
 

Minister Schryer’s role is to help women improve their living conditions. The Coalition now calls upon her to reassess her position and to start working on legislation for the private sector. Sixty-seven percent of women are employed in the private sector and most hold predominantly or traditionally female jobs.

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