Equal pay: Julia Gillard ‘offended’
Julia Gillard is evidently ‘offended’ by suggestions she doesn’t support low paid workers. Offended Julia? Try living on the pittance the 150,000 low paid, overwhelmingly women workers in the community and social services sector have to live on and you’d understand the meaning of the word offended.
But how would someone who gets paid $400,000 a year, who lives in a rent free place with all meals laid on, know what it is like to work for at least 38 hours a week, and often more to help the clients, for a measly $600 a week? Not to mention the kids, the cooking and the cleaning.
But it is more than that. Labor manages capitalism, and the neoliberal disease has infected the ALP so much that they are budget surplus fetishists.
Thanks to stimulus spending during the Global Financially Crisis Australia this year will have a Budget deficit of about $55 billion. This is small beer compared to our GDP, one of the lowest Government debt to GDP ratios in the OECD.
The money went to build unneeded outdoor school enclosures, put pink batts in roofs across Australia and prop up the banks with guarantees to prevent possible runs on them.
Last year Gillard agreed to support the Australian Services Union test case for equal pay for work of equal value in the community and social services sector. That sector employs 150,000 workers, mostly women, and is Government funded.
In its submission to Fair Work Australia, the body hearing the equal pay test case, the Gillard Government warned of the impact on the Budget of granting the rise, a rise that the union has shamefully agreed should in any event be phased in over 5 years.
Fair Work Australia will get a clear message from the Government’s plausibly deniable abandoning of women workers. It will hasten slowly and if it finds a case for pay increases – an ‘if’ the Government’s equivocation on funding will only reinforce – my bet is the phase in period will be lengthened from 5 years to 10 years. The union leadership and the ALP can then say the umpire has spoke and we must respect the decision and celebrate this great victory for working women.
And all the time the women on crap pay will continue to get crap pay, with small increases every year making it slightly less crappy.
Gillard fears that if these low paid workers win their case, other workers like those in childcare will also mount successful cases. God forbid that more low paid workers get decent pay, eh Julia?
Leaks from the latest Labor Caucus meeting indicate that Gillard is now talking about cutting other services to fund the pay increase. You and I are going to pay for possible wage justice for women, not the profit bludgers.
Why not tax the rich to pay for it? Why not use some Defence money to fund the pay increase? Perhaps the Labor Government could withdraw from Afghanistan and use the $2 billion saved by doing that to pay for wage justice for women workers.
But Gillard won’t do any of that. She’ll cut back on services to the poor and working class. If we let her.
Her allegiance is to her class – the bourgeoisie. That’s why she chooses war over working women.