This month at the International Labour Organisation Conference, the National government took credit for the work of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit without disclosing that Minister Wilkinson had closed the Pay and Employment Equity Unit down and the government had scrapped its on-going pay investigations.
New Zealand participated in the formal discussion on Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent Work, where our government was at pains to emphasise that gender equality and non-discrimination must be at the core of the ILO’s work, including when implementing the Decent Work Agenda.
However, New Zealand’s worker representative, Helen Kelly, CTU President was upfront in her address to the Plenary discussion on the report of the Director General of the ILO, where she outed the National Government’s ditching of the Pay and Employment Equity Unit and Pay investigations saying:
“We are bemused to see that in its position paper on its approach to this conference, the NZ government uses the work done in this previous programme to try to highlight its credentials on this topic, without once mentioning that is has now cancelled the work.”
Some people may think that it doesn’t matter, but it does. It’s all about our reputation in the world as a country that deals fairly with its people. Having attended the ILO conference on more than one occasion, I can confirm that being exposed like this does nothing for New Zealand’s reputation in the world.
And if that doesn’t matter, just ask the women who rallied outside parliament today.