ASU Equal Pay rally and march – 8 June 2011

Demand Equal Pay in 2011 - banner on wall of Trades Hall
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8 June was a National Day of Action, with rallies across Australia demanding pay equity for workers in the community and health sector. The rally in Melbourne was held in wet and wintry conditions, but as one speaker said, these did not dampen workers’ resolve to pursue the pay increases that Fair Work Australia had just announced they were entitled to. Several thousand gathered outside Trades Hall to hear speakers before marching through the CBD to Parliament House to make their voices heard there.
Video of the three stages can be seen on YouTube, including the speech delivered at Trades Hall by veteran campaigner Zelda D’Aprano, who way back in 1969 chained herself to government buildings to reinforce just the same demands for equality which have still not been met.
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Other speakers at Trades Hall were Brian Parkinson, Branch Secretary of the ASU, Vikkie Robinson, a Community Services student at Victoria University and Student Member of the ASU, Linda White from the ASU National Office, who presented a number of member who had submitted witness statements to the Tribunal in the recent wage case, as did Mary Bluett of the AEU and Lloyd Williams of HACSU, and finally ASU member Pia Cerveri. (See video below.)
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At Parliament House there were more speakers, including Cath Smith and Micaela Cronin, CEO and President respectively of the Victorian Council of Social Services, who presented a statement of support on behalf of VCOSS, ASU delegate Cecilia Judge, and finally Lisa Darmanin, ASU Assistant Secretary (whose speech comes at the end of footage of the march in the video below).

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MC for the rally was ASU Lead Organiser Wil Stracke (not Strache as unfortunately misspelled in the video caption).
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See coverage in The Age and ABC online, as well as the campaign website.
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The VCOSS statement reads as follows:

The Presidents and Treasurers of the Victorian community sector stand alongside the ASU in support of equal pay for community sector workers.

The Presidents and Treasurers of community sector organisations are volunteers of all ages who come from across the community – we are CEO’s, accountants, bureaucrats, business owners, service users. While we are volunteers our employees are not! They should be paid fairly and equitably for the work that they do. Fair Work Australia has recognised that they currently are not.

It is time for Government to stand up for the workers and the organisations that support the most vulnerable in our community. The community sector deliver services on behalf of all levels of Government – it is now time for them to step up and fund us for the actual cost of our services!

So far we’ve heard all the right noises from politicians. In Victoria, Community Services Minister, Mary Wooldridge, committed to funding the outcomes of the case in an interview with VCOSS in the lead up to last year’s election. Likewise, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, committed the Government to funding the outcomes of the pay equity case in an episode of the ABC’s Q&A earlier this year.

It’s time for all politicians to put their money on the table. Community sector workers have waited long enough to be properly valued for their work. We have an opportunity to finally do so. It is an opportunity our nation cannot afford to miss.

(http://vcoss.org.au/wordpress/?p=290)

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