What do we want? Equal Pay! When do we want it? 1972…

Equal Pay NowBy Romany Tasker-Poland


Yesterday saw a lively rally on Cuba Mall in support of Equal Pay. The rally was called by the Council of Trade Unions as part of their ongoing campaign, and drew a crowd of over 100, with curious passers-by drawn in by the banners and the dancing — the organisers had choreographed a little number to Donna Summers’ “She Works Hard for her Money”.


There was a good turnout from the unions at the event: the Public Services Association, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, and E Tū all had a visible presence, along with workers from the NZEI, PPTA, RMTU and TEU. Speakers included Vanisa Dhiru of the National Council of Women, Richard Wagstaff of the Council of Trade Unions, and, of course, Kristine Bartlett, champion of the trailblazing Equal Pay case for aged care workers. That case – won by Bartlett and her union E Tū – saw workers in the female-dominated aged care sector receive, in Bartlett’s words “the biggest pay rise they will ever see.” The message from the speakers was unanimous: the government’s proposed Equal Pay Bill is an attack on the hard-won gains of Bartlet’s equal pay victory, and indeed on the 1972 Equal Pay Act itself.

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