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Issue No. 329 20 October 2006  
E D I T O R I A L

Sucking the Oranges
Every three years the Australian union movement comes together for a gathering that is part policy forum, part Jamboree, the ACTU Congress.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Cowboys and Indians
Finance Sector Union national secretary Paul Schroder is standing between the big banks and a bucket of money.

Industrial: Seven Deadly Sins
Chris Christodoulou gives seven reasons why WorkChoices is bad for business

Unions: The IT Factor
The future of Australian IT looks grim as big companies lead the rush to India and China, writes Jackie Woods.

Politics: Bargain Basement
Simple principles of democracy underpin the ACTU's collective bargaining proposal, insists ACTU Secrteary Greg Combet.

Environment: An Inconvenient Hoax
Al Gore may be warning of climate breakdown, but what hope the truth when he's up against such a well-oiled machine? asks Paul Sheridan

Corporate: Two Sides
Bilateral trade agreements are a good idea – just ask the US multinationals. The rest of us should strongly disagree says Pat Ranald

International: Unfair Dismissals
Nearly 10,000 workers were fired for their trade union activities in 2005, an annual trade union survey shows.

History: A Stitch in Time
Neale Towart takes some lessons from female textile workers while considering the case for recognition ballots.

Review: The Wind that Shakes the Barley
A film charting the turmoil of the Irish war for independence against British occupation during the 1920s might seem an odd choice for top honours at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006.

N E W S

 Bananas in the Mail

 Dragons Slay St George

 Collective Contracts Still Rule

 Boeing Bombs Individual Contracts

 Multis Raid Nest Eggs

 "Guests" Stood Over, AMWU

 Aunty Off the Air

 Ban Ki-Moon, Koreans Warn

 Super Shafting at Telstra

 Qantas IT calls Bangalore home

 Three Question Method

 AWAs: Kids Stuff

C O L U M N S

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Ian West takes a walk around the backyard with the Prime Minister…

The Soapbox
Rise Up
Hugo Chavez's explosive address to the United Nations

Culture
The Fear Factor
A new analysis of the history of fear takes us from the war on terror all the way to the modern workplace.

L E T T E R S
 Thanks Betina
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Letters to the Editor

Thanks Betina


Women Choose to Earn Less ˆ Thanks Bettina! Low Pay that‚s for me!

It would seem that after all these years Bettina Arndt still has no understanding of gender pay inequality in the Australian workforce. Her headline `Women Choose to earn less‰ confounds most women. I am yet to come across a woman who gleefully cries `Low Pay - that‚s for me‰ or feels that being paid her true value for her work should in some way be reduced because she has family responsibilities. Arndt displays a lack of understanding of the problem of pay equity and the constrained `choices‚ that women face. Firstly, she explains the gender wage gap as being the result of men working more hours than women. If Arndt were to examine hourly rates of pay for women and men in almost all industries and occupations she would find a persistent gap between men and women‚s earnings paid at an hourly rate.

Arndt claims that women choose to work part-time to fit with their family responsibilities. Yes this is true but this in no way should suggest that their value for the work performed should be less than a male because she works shorter hours. I would think that Arndt would encourage more flexible forms of employment that is fairly paid and would enable and encourage women to balance work and family commitments.

Arndt also seems to ignore one of the real problems associated with pay inequality that being that the work women do is undervalued and not paid appropriately for the skill, qualifications and worth, (child care workers are an example).. The Federal Government has ignored and failed to address the issue of pay equity. While all of the States Governments have held Inquires and introduced policies in an to attempt to redress pay equity the Federal Government has not acted. Further, through its Work Choices legislation it has removed any effective way of addressing the issue and many of the achievements made in workplace flexibility. . Federal Government policies will exacerbate wage inequality and will diminish a woman‚s ability to balance her work and family arrangements.

Suzanne Hammond

National Pay Equity Coalition


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