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Defying Empire commemorates the 50th anniversary of 1967 Referendum

Community Sector protests for equal pay.

By Charlotte - 8 June 2011 12

A group of passionate community sector workers braved the cold to attend a rally in Civic Square today to support their equal remuneration case currently before Fair Work Australia.

ethos square

While numbers were scarce to start with, groups with banners and red balloons began to fill the courtyard where a makeshift podium was set up.

banners

The rally, pushed by the Australian Services Union, was part of the National Day of Action, with similar events being held simultaneously across Australia.

artistic protest

The rally took place next around the sculpture of local artist Michael Le Grand.

behind the barricade

Fair Work Australia found on 16 May that the ASU and its partners successfully proved that community service workers in the not-for-profit sector are underpaid, at least partly due to the majority of community service workers being women.

banners

Speakers at the rally compared the workers’ case with the struggle of nurses in the 1980s to achieve equal pay, saying the government is using the excuse that many community workers “work for love” so do not need an increased pay rate.

speaking

mustered

The crowd blew whistles and cheered as they were encouraged to fight for recognition of the work they do.

long shot

The rally attendees were then invited to walk through Canberra Centre to the offices of ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries to see if he, like the ACT Government, would support their efforts.

departing

Despite being warned he wasn’t in his office today, the protesters strolled through the Canberra Centre, crossing on red lights in their determination to have their voices answered.

globalising

The group then took up camp outside Senator Humphries’ offices, chanting the word “U-N-I-O-N” to make sure no one was in any doubt as to who they were or what they were after.

Gary Humphries besieged

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Community Sector protests for equal pay.
Violet68 1:28 pm 12 Jun 11

Furry Jesus said :

The comments so far, with the exception of qbyngeek and classified, don’t seem to be showing any interest in the issue behind the rally. Which reflects the general lack of interest in the community sector by the broader community, until you need it.

In previous places of work, I’ve talked to members of Service groups like Rotary (not here in the ACT) about working with families dealing with violence, abuse, drug use and mental health problems, only to be told by one or two that the best solution is to shoot them or drown them at birth.

The community sector struggles to support people whose lives present profound challenges that would break most of us. Try being an 80 year old woman trying to care for a bedridden husband with dementia, or an older single parent still caring for an adult child with mental health problems, or a couple who have lost a child at birth, or a survivor of rape, or a homeless person…

As long as the sector continues to be so lowly paid, the good workers often move on to more comfortable, better paid jobs in government, where they can afford families and mortgages. The way public servants and people in the commercial world often view us when they find out about our working conditions often smacks of doubts about our sanity or our intelligence.

Many public servants get their training in the community sector, where they learn to understand the lives of the people government policy is supposed to assist. Unlike the graduates who go straight into government from university with little experience of the real world.

Travel between the community sector and government/private is mostly one way, and so many who would like to work directly with people without being mired in layers of bureaucracy or suffering the petty grievances and small-minded competitiveness of some of their colleagues, almost always baulk at the drop in wages.

So essential services to people at their most vulnerable and acutely at risk continue to rely on people who sacrifice thousands of dollars a year to do the work, or worse, to people who shouldn’t do the work at all, but get employed because the sector is often so desperate for staff that it employs people I wouldn’t trust to take my dog for a walk.

Comment on that, if you have to say anything at all.

Well said.

Furry Jesus 10:43 am 12 Jun 11

The comments so far, with the exception of qbyngeek and classified, don’t seem to be showing any interest in the issue behind the rally. Which reflects the general lack of interest in the community sector by the broader community, until you need it.

In previous places of work, I’ve talked to members of Service groups like Rotary (not here in the ACT) about working with families dealing with violence, abuse, drug use and mental health problems, only to be told by one or two that the best solution is to shoot them or drown them at birth.

The community sector struggles to support people whose lives present profound challenges that would break most of us. Try being an 80 year old woman trying to care for a bedridden husband with dementia, or an older single parent still caring for an adult child with mental health problems, or a couple who have lost a child at birth, or a survivor of rape, or a homeless person…

As long as the sector continues to be so lowly paid, the good workers often move on to more comfortable, better paid jobs in government, where they can afford families and mortgages. The way public servants and people in the commercial world often view us when they find out about our working conditions often smacks of doubts about our sanity or our intelligence.

Many public servants get their training in the community sector, where they learn to understand the lives of the people government policy is supposed to assist. Unlike the graduates who go straight into government from university with little experience of the real world.

Travel between the community sector and government/private is mostly one way, and so many who would like to work directly with people without being mired in layers of bureaucracy or suffering the petty grievances and small-minded competitiveness of some of their colleagues, almost always baulk at the drop in wages.

So essential services to people at their most vulnerable and acutely at risk continue to rely on people who sacrifice thousands of dollars a year to do the work, or worse, to people who shouldn’t do the work at all, but get employed because the sector is often so desperate for staff that it employs people I wouldn’t trust to take my dog for a walk.

Comment on that, if you have to say anything at all.

Mr Evil 5:53 pm 11 Jun 11

Thumper said :

Why protest outside Humphries’ office?

When I last checked it was the ALP in power.

And they wonder why people think both the Trade Unions and the Public Service are full of useless morons who couldn’t get jobs in the real world!

“Oh, those evil Liberals are oppressing us from the opposition bench”.

miz 10:50 am 11 Jun 11

What Classified said.

housebound 4:26 pm 08 Jun 11

Thumper said :

Do the names Andew Leigh, Kate Lundy or Gai Brodtmann mean anything?

Apparantly not. It seems the union believes that only the oh-so-powerful Libs can achieve anything, even from opposition.

Thumper 3:43 pm 08 Jun 11

I guess it’s because he is a politician, centrally located, and was with the gang that was in power for 12 years and still did nothing. Just Maybe that’s one of the reasons.

Do the names Andew Leigh, Kate Lundy or Gai Brodtmann mean anything?

Sword 3:19 pm 08 Jun 11

Thumper said :

Why protest outside Humphries’ office?

When I last checked it was the ALP in power.

I guess it’s because he is a politician, centrally located, and was with the gang that was in power for 12 years and still did nothing. Just Maybe that’s one of the reasons.

Classified 3:10 pm 08 Jun 11

I support this cause. They should all be paid exactly the same amount.

neanderthalsis 3:02 pm 08 Jun 11

Thumper said :

Why protest outside Humphries’ office?

When I last checked it was the ALP in power.

It would make more sense to protest outside Kate Lundy’s office, but union protesters are usually reluctant to bite the hand that votes for them. Protesting outside offices of conservative politicians is the natural environment of the union protester.

Thumper 2:23 pm 08 Jun 11

Why protest outside Humphries’ office?

When I last checked it was the ALP in power.

qbngeek 1:58 pm 08 Jun 11

While I support the cause, I have to say that crossing the lights on the red was a stupid idea and the person who thought that up should be hung.

troll-sniffer 1:45 pm 08 Jun 11

I saw a red balloon float gently up past my window as I looked down upon this seething mass of rage.The irony was lost on me however. But my thoughts did turn to the streets of Paris, and I hoped that the red balloon, that by now was just a red dot high in the sky, would come and save me from my fellow CPSU members, but to no avail.

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