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.
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.
The rally, pushed by the Australian Services Union, was part of the National Day of Action, with similar events being held simultaneously across Australia.
The rally took place next around the sculpture of local artist Michael Le Grand.
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.
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.
The crowd blew whistles and cheered as they were encouraged to fight for recognition of the work they do.
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.
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.
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.