Workers Online
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Workers Online
  Issue No 12 Official Organ of LaborNet 07 May 1999  





Age Tele-Centre Seeks Pay Equity

A landmark equal pay case involving women at the Melbourne Age's telephone sales centre was back in court this week, with legal arguments again keeping the key issues from being aired.

The ACTU is backing the claim by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union to have the women paid at the same level as male production workers.

After a procession of Commission hearings, the Age this week again raised spurious and technical jurisdictional issues, relating to the form of the application. Commissioner Whelan has given the Age a week to make their submission and the union a week to respond.

The ACTU's Jenny Doran called on the Age to allow the case to go ahead and be heard on its merits.

"Why is The Age so afraid of conducting a genuine work value of the women's work and the men's work?" she asked Workers Online

"It's because it will show that the women's work is not being valued fairly."

The ACTU is claiming that the female clerical workers in the 'Phone Room' are performing work of equal value with male production workers who are paid at the base trade rate.

The women are currently being paid a base rate of $546.15 (excluding VDT and casual loadings). The men are currently paid $664.00. The claim therefore is for an increase in the base rate of the women of $117.85. There are 170 women employed in the classifications covered by the application.

The grounds on which the claim is based are:

1. The women are performing clerical work that under the minimum rate adjustment process undertaken in respect of minimum rates in awards has been valued as equal in value to the work of tradespersons.

2. Historically the rates payable to women at Level 4 of their existing quota classification system have been equivalent to the male rates referred to.

3. Similar work performed by women workers in other newspapers has been valued as being of equivalent value to the work of the men with whom we are asking that they be compared. (News Limited).

The union is seeking a similar skill based structure for the women. This is consistent with the equal remuneration provisions which are based on a broad definition of remuneration.


*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 12 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: The Call of the Wild
We meet a union organiser who’s taking the union message into the call centres.
*  Unions: After the Gold Rush
Call centres are the boom industry and governments everywhere are touting them as major job creators - particularly in regional areas.
*  History: From Steam Trains to Information Superhighways
A new project is dedicated to promoting the heritage of the Eveleigh railway workshops.
*  Work/Time/Life: This Working Life: Issue #1
The debut issue of the ACTU's new monthly bulletin for it's Working Time and Employment Security Campaign.
*  International: British Unions Halt Membership Decline
Union membership has stopped falling in the UK for the first time in 18 years, suggesting that unions’ increased committment to recruitment and organising is starting to pay off.
*  Review: Cold Warriors' Secrets Exposed
NSW Attorney General Jeff Shaw looks at two books that lift the lid on Cold War espionage.

»  Push for Decent Call Centres
»  Shaw Unveils Second Wave
»  Union Raises the Roof for Beryl
»  Cotter Withdraws Currawong Standover Claims
»  Reith Second Wave Will Prolong Industrial Disputes
»  It’s Rio Telstra -- Union Braces for Attack
»  Fears of AWA Push in State Rail
»  Age Tele-Centre Seeks Pay Equity
»  Advocate Ads to be Referred to Auditor-General, ACCC
»  Labor Council to Stage Pre-Drug Summit

»  Guest Report
»  Sport
»  Trades Hall
»  Piers Watch

Letters to the editor
»  Wran Wrong on Wrepublic
»  Digging the Dirt-Digging

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