The Public Service Association (PSA) has described a new pay deal for District Health Board (DHB) administration and clerical workers as an “historic” settlement.
In a statement, the PSA said the offer had been “overwhelmingly approved” by workers today.
“This day will go down in history. PSA has been fighting for equal pay for work of equal value for women workers since 1913. The equal pay settlement for administration and clerical workers in DHBs is another step in a long journey,” said PSA national sector leader, Sue McCullough.
“Each step has a concrete and inter-generational effect for the workers it covers, and that’s worth celebrating,” she said.
Ms McCullough said 10,000 mostly female workers will at last receive pay that recompenses them for their labour, not their gender.
“Pay equity will change the lives of many of these workers, with some to receive pay rises of up to 40%.
“Not all roles within the sector have been underpaid as significantly as others, so pay rises will vary.
“It’s also the first time that administration and clerical staff throughout the country will have same pay for doing the same work.”
This new pay system for clerical workers provides a standard structure for more than 1,500 roles across 20 DHB’s which previously had widely variable rates.
One workers who is set to benefit from the deal, Darilyn Uren-Perry, today said he was thrilled with news of the pay agreement.
“This morning, I am finding my job a complete joy to undertake. Whilst I’ve always taken pleasure from my work, I didn’t actually realise how much resentment I felt about not being paid fairly for it nor how much this had impacted my mental health,” he said.
Union delegate and long-time advocate for pay equity, Nancy Mc Shane said the pay claim had been ratified by “an astonishing margin of 97%”.
“It literally brought tears to my eyes,” she said.
“Settlement of this Equal Pay claim is another important step towards true equality for all women in Aotearoa and will be profoundly transformational in the lives of my DHB Admin colleagues.”
Health Minister, Andrew Little this afternoon described the pay agreement as “hugely significant”.
“There is no place in 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand for 1950s attitudes to work predominantly carried out by women,” Mr Little said.
“This Government is committed to paying workers fairly. That’s why in 2020 we changed the Equal Pay Act to give it real teeth. This settlement is a direct result of that.
“Negotiating pay-equity agreements can be challenging, involving complicated processes to establish how much pay rates are affected by the fact that most of the people working in jobs are women.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in getting this historic agreement over the line, and I look forward to more,” the Minister said.