PSAC says "pay equity" bill threatens women's rights

    OTTAWA, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - The Public Service Alliance of Canada is
encouraging opposition members to remove legislation from the budget bill that
would prevent women in the federal public sector from demanding equal pay for
work of equal value.
    The 166,000-member union is concerned that the Public Sector Equitable
Compensation Act will remove women's ability to file pay equity complaints,
making the process even more difficult than the current complaints-based
    The "pay equity" bill is part of the omnibus Budget Implementation Act
(Bill C-10), which was tabled on February 7, 2009. PSAC refutes the notion
that this legislation is "proactive," given that it ignores the
recommendations made in the well-respected 2004 report from the federal Task
Force on Pay Equity. The union contends that the new scheme would make a bad
system much worse, removing pay equity's status as a human right and opening
it up to market forces.
    According to PSAC, the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act
undermines pay equity in the following ways:

    - It transforms pay equity into an "equitable compensation issue" that
      must be discussed at the bargaining table - even though fundamental
      human rights should never be negotiable.
    - It makes it more difficult to claim pay equity, by changing the
      definition of a "female predominant" job group to require that women
      make up 70 per cent of workers in the position.
    - It redefines the criteria used to evaluate whether jobs are of "equal"
      value, leaving pay equity up to the fluctuations of the market.
    - It forces individual women to make pay equity claims without any
      support - in fact it would impose a $50,000 fine on any union for
      encouraging or assisting their own members in filing a pay equity

    "Pay equity is a fundamental human right that should not be taken away at
a bargaining table where the employer historically holds the balance of
power," said John Gordon, PSAC National President. "The Public Sector
Equitable Compensation Act is a regressive piece of legislation that threatens
to widen the income gap between women and men in the federal public sector. We
urge the opposition parties to unite to remove the Public Sector Equitable
Compensation Act from Bill C-10."

For further information:

For further information: Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications, (613)
292-8363 (cell)

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