Friday, 19 November 2010 00:00

Government flags service cuts to meet gender equity pay claim

UnitingCare Australia is disappointed that the Federal Government appears to be backing away from funding long overdue wage increases for low paid community sector workers.

Responding to the Government’s submission to Fair Work Australia’s Equal Remuneration Case for Social and Community Service Workers, UnitngCare Australia’s National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said the Government seems to have put the budget surplus ahead of a fair go for low paid women.
“The historic test case promises to significantly increase the salaries of low paid community sector workers, most of whom are women working part-time,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“But in its submission the Government said that ‘any additional government funding would likely come at the expense of other government funded services’.
“Approximately fifty per cent of community workers earn less than $35,000 a year and 90 per cent earn less than $80,000 a year.
“UnitingCare Australia absolutely supports increased wages for low paid women.
“Our work is largely funded by federal state and local governments.
“It’s essential that the government picks up the tab for any increases in the cost of delivering those services.
“The government has outsourced essential social services for decades. It cannot abdicate its responsibility to adequately fund those services.
“This is a reforming government, a government committed to social inclusion.
“We believe one of its priorities must be to deliver on fair wages.
“The community sector, the unions and government all want to see increased wages for low income workers in the community sector.
“This should not come down to a choice between pay parity for low paid women or the provision of essential social services to vulnerable Australians.

“This case affects people who work in child protection, homelessness services, disability support services, family crisis, emergency relief, employment services and aged care,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
The UnitingCare network, which employs 35,000 people, provides social services in over 1,300 sites across Australia.
Contact: Judith Tokley 02 6249 6717 / 0408 824 306