The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says it is incredibly pleased at today’s announcement that pay equity legislation has come before Parliament.
NZNO Industrial Services Manager Cee Payne says it is absolutely fitting because it was 125 years ago to the very day that the hard fight for women’s right to vote was won in New Zealand and strides toward future pay equity were made.
“This is a day upon which we honour the memory of those mighty suffragette women who came before us, and that it’s been exactly 125 years makes this legislation an especially appropriate milestone.”
She said after so many years, victory in the struggle for pay equity was now in sight.
“As the union and professional association with the largest female membership we believe it is essential that good legislation is in place that enable all women to achieve pay equity and make pay equity claims, whether or not they are covered by collective agreements.
“We also believe such legislation should have future-proofing built into it that will allow us to monitor that equal rates of pay are being maintained into the future.”
A process for achieving pay equity with settlements to be paid by 31 December 2019 was won by NZNO members working in DHBs who took industrial action in July.
Cee Payne says once pay equity is established in the DHB sector it will set the benchmark for members in non-DHB employment.
“Already we are seeing positive responses from employers in the private sector to the pay increases achieved in the DHB MECA bargaining, and this reflects a massive step forward for all nurses in New Zealand.”
She said, however, that the work of the union and its members in the pay equity journey will be ongoing.
“We will continue to build collective power until all women in our country have achieved pay equity. Today we celebrate this legislation and the journey and success so far. Like those early suffragettes, what we collectively achieve today and, in our lifetimes, will shape a better and more equal tomorrow.”