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Alasdair Thompson’s comments demonstrate need for Equal Pay Bill

Pay Equity Challenge Coalition Press Release, 24 June 2011

The Pay Equity Challenge Coalition says that employer spokesperson Alasdair Thompson’s outbursts from the last day demonstrate precisely why the Equal Pay Act needs to be modernised and strengthened.

“Alasdair Thompson has provided the perfect example of how some employers demonstrate discriminatory practices and views,” said coalition spokesperson Rebecca Matthews.

“The law needs to protect employees from those with outdated and misinformed views of the role of men and women in the workplace,” said Matthews. “Catherine Delahunty’s Bill allows for greater scrutiny of employer’s decisions, in order to ensure fairness.”

Rebecca Matthews welcomed the Government distancing themselves from Thompson’s comments, but said they needed to do more to protect women workers from similar employer behaviour.

“Kate Wilkinson and her colleagues need to take action on fair pay and support the Equal Pay Amendment Bill. This is a really good way to make sure that Alasdair Thompson’s views aren’t reflected in a continuing gender pay gap.”

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One Response

  1. This focus on the lone “statistic” of “women earn on average 88% of what men earn” is neither useful nor indicative of women’s overall position in society. Answer these questions: of men and women, who are three times more likely to be homeless? Who are eleven times more likely to be killed on the job? (And why is there no uproar over this discrepancy? Why are New Zealand men’s lives so undervalued?) Who consumes more in social services than they pay in via taxes? (hint: there is a widow’s benefit, but no widower’s benefit) Who benefits financially more from separation and divorce via asset division, yet still gets child custody and child support? (hint: who are three times more likely to initiate divorce?) Who are responsible for the majority of consumer spending? (hint: look at advertisers’ target market) Of course, none of these things are ever taken into account in the “88%” statistic.

    And now we want to make employee’s wages transparent to other employees, because, apparently, employers – who in NZ are mostly small businesses employing 5 or fewer – are greedy Scrooge McDucks sitting on stacks of gold bars, deliberately not paying their women employees as much as men because, presumably, they are a bunch of misogynistic pigs… and presumably that also applies to the women business owners… despite the fact that businesses are about the bottom line (indeed, publically-owned companies are duty bound to maximise profit) so why on earth would any company pay men more to do exactly the same work as women? Wouldn’t those companies immediately boost their profits by firing all the men and hiring only women? Oh that’s right, “misogynistic pigs”. Never mind that women have agency and choose lower paying jobs for several reasons (as pointed out by any number of studies: http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba392 http://consad.com/index.php?page=an-analysis-of-reasons-for-the-disparity-in-wages-between-men-and-women – prepared for the US Dept of Labor). Shouldn’t we be celebrating the fact that women have this choice?

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