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Provincial Budget: Shock and uncertainty at the NB Coalition for Pay Equity

2011-03-23

Provincial Budget: Shock and uncertainty at the NB
Coalition for Pay Equity
 
The NB Coalition for Pay Equity is stunned by the abolition of the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women (ACSW). It is also concerned by the uncertainty that still remains regarding the pay adjustment expected by underpaid workers, following their participation in pay equity programs. These are the workers in child care centers, home support agencies, group homes and transition houses.
 
The abolition of the NB Advisory Council on the Status of Women
 
The Coalition’s Chair, Marilyn MacCormack, is asking the Premier to reconsider his decision to abolish the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. “The Advisory Council plays a unique role. It is an arms-length agency, independant from the government, respected by everyone in New Brunswick. It brings women’s concerns and issues in the public space, shares it with the government and advises the minister. Its abolition would represent the end of this independent voice,” says Marilyn MacCormack.
 
According to the Coalition’s Chair, the budget savings due to the abolition of the ACSW are only a drop in the bucket. “Isn’t the women’s perspective worth $342,000 to the government?” she asks. In fact, the ACSW’s budget was only $418,000 and the budget of the Women's Issues Branch of the Executive Council Office only increases by $76,000 following the changes announced by the government, representing savings of only $342,000.
 
Pay equity for groups that offer government-mandated services
 
In other respects, the Coalition for Pay Equity highlights that the Finance Minister announced pay increases for workers in home-support agencies and special care homes, but without specifying whether these increases will be sufficient to reach pay equity. No other pay adjustments were mentioned for the child care, group home and transition house workers.
 
“These women have been underpaid for decades. They should not be victims of the deficit,” says Marilyn MacCormack, who will be following closely the budget estimates to make sure these workers will not be forgotten.

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