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Pay equity deal a victory for determination and unions

The pay equity settlement revealed today for around 55,000 low-paid workers was hard-won by a determined Kristine Bartlett backed by her union, up against sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

“Labour welcomes the impending settlement and we congratulate Kristine Bartlett, her union E Tu and other unions for their perseverance and determination. Their hard-won victory will make a huge difference to the lives of 55,000 low-paid New Zealanders.

“But make no mistake, the Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to this point, having had lawyers at each appeal stage of the original case opposing lower court decisions on pay equity determinations.

“This settlement wouldn't have been reached without the unions' involvement, which will see thousands of other workers benefit from the legal case and the outcome of the negotiations

“This shouldn’t have been such a tough fight to wage with the Government. We still need to see a modern and more effective system for dealing with pay equity claims, which is overdue years after National shut down the pay equity unit set up under a previous Labour Government.

“This outcome will be an overdue spur for pay equity and for lifting low pay in many other areas, and confirms the need for modern and fairer pay setting mechanisms,” says Andrew Little.