Will that be a Robertson or an Allen, Ma'am?
(My take on this from last Thursday is here.)
Dawg, being more expert on matters of labour than I, has a list of all the problems with this legislation. Here's a sampling:
* It adds "market forces" to the equation--the very forces that helped to create pay inequity in the first place.
* Rather than permitting the comparison of jobs within the entire public service, the new law will restrict job comparisons to specific job classes* and "job groups," the latter to be defined by regulation. The government can, by regulation once again, restrict the comparator jobs upon which compensation assessment can be based (s.4 d). In other words--it's a fixed race.
* A "female predominant" group will now have to be comprised of at least 70% women. Under the current rules, there are ten "female predominant" groups in the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the largest federal public sector union. This would cut that number down to five at a stroke. Of the 2,963 information services workers, for example, 2039 are women--68.8% of the group. With the passage of this law, they would have no right to claim pay equity.
Yet, on the eve of International Women's Day, just like I wrote the other day, the Cons Women's Rights Talking Barbie Helena Guergis spoke to the UN Committee of the Status of Women about how wonderful her government is to us lady workers.
And here's the news release put out yesterday by reps of Canadian women's groups and labour unions who can recognize a screwdriver when they see one.
NEW YORK, NY, March 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Representatives of women's groups
and labour unions gathered at the United Nations yesterday, to announce that
they will be filing a complaint against the Harper government with the UN
Commission on the Status of Women. The complaint condemns the Canadian
government for rushing controversial pay equity legislation through
Parliament, which will make it extremely difficult for women in the federal
public sector to demand equal pay for work of equal value.
The "notice of communication" to the UN was signed by representatives of
more than 40 organizations, including the Public Service Alliance of Canada,
the Syndicat de la fonction publique du Québec, the Canadian Federation of
Nurses Unions and the Feminist Alliance for International Action.
In addition to criticizing the pay equity "poison pill" in the Budget
Implementation Act, it also takes aim at the 2009 federal budget for failing
to fix the employment insurance system during a time of economic crisis.
As it stands, only one third of unemployed women in Canada can access EI
and even when they do, their EI benefits are often too low to both pay the
rent and feed the kids.
"We just heard Helena Guergis speak to the UN Committee of the Status of
Women, touting the Harper government's supposed record on women's rights. It's
appalling that she would set foot on an international stage to make claims
about women's equality while the government is in the midst of implementing
policies that are trampling women's equality rights at home," said Patty
Ducharme, PSAC's National Executive Vice President.
The signatories to the "notice of communication" will work together in
the coming weeks to formalize their complaint and submit it to the United
"We will not sit back and watch as our government retreats from its
international obligations and undermines women's equality rights," said Robyn
Benson, Regional Executive Vice-President, responsible for women's issues at
Ah yes, the New Conservatives. Your family friendly government serving you better.