The Green Party has joined with the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) to launch an equal pay petition today, taking up the Government's challenge to prove that equal pay issues are a major concern in modern workplaces.
"When I launched my Equal Pay Amendment Bill I received strong and immediate support from unions, women's groups, and individuals," Green Party Women's Affairs Spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.
"The level of concern - particularly after the bizarre sexist comments of former Employers and Manufacturers Association Chief Executive Alasdair Thompson - confirmed that gender pay issues are unfortunately alive and well in New Zealand.
"My bill would make it easier for women to find out whether there is a gender pay issue in their workplace, but the Ministers of Labour and Women's Affairs say we don't need this change because workers can already find out pay information by asking a Labour Inspector to investigate.
"The Greens and the CTU don't think this is a viable option. It would make much more sense if workers were able to access basic data first, and then request an inspector to investigate if it revealed a problem.
"However, since this is the solution favoured by the Government, the Greens and the CTU have decided to put it to the test!
"We have today launched a petition that asks for workplaces to be investigated to see if there is an equal pay issue. The objective is to show how difficult it is to see wage records, and to show how many workplaces are potentially affected," Ms Delahunty said.
The petition was launched by Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei in a speech to the Council of Trade Unions conference this morning.
"We are delighted to be working with the CTU on this important campaign," Ms Delahunty said.
"CTU President Helen Kelly has shown consistent leadership on this issue, and her sensible opinions in the face Alasdair Thompson's bizarre outburst helped put the issue of equal pay on the national political agenda.
"Signing this petition is a simple step that workers all over the county can take to both shed light on equal pay issues in their own workplaces, and ensure that the shameful 13 percent gender pay gap between men and women remains an issue of national concern."