Campaigning for funding of decent wages for community workers
On Tuesday 30 October, the Senate discussed the Social and Community Services Pay Equity Special Account Bill 2012 and Social and Community Services Pay Equity Special Account (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2012. ACOSS has prepared a briefing on these bills.
Following the decision by Fair Work Australia on 1 February to award pay rises of 19-41% to community workers, ACOSS released a brief analysis of the decision.
Read about ACOSS' initial analysis of the Fair Work Australia decision in the equal remuneration case for community sector workers.
ACOSS is leading the campaign for decent wages for social and community sector workers. This must be achieved through a nationally consistent approach that recognises the significant extent of government funding of the sector across the country.
We are continuing to lobby the Federal Government and working with the Employer Reference Group and our members to maintain the momentum in the campaign for funding. You can contribute by maintaining the pressure on all funders, both government and non-government, to commit to funding decent wages in their support for community services.
ACOSS has some serious concerns about the Commonwealth's submission to Fair Work Australia, particularly given that the Commonwealth argued that pay equity should be balanced with the priority of reaching budget surplus. These are not competing priorities: an effective, efficient community sector is vital to Australia's economy but this can only be achieved through adequate funding including of decent wages. The sector has spoken loudly and unequivocally advocating that all funders, including governments, must play their part in ensuring that equal pay becomes a reality.
We have also received a flood of new signatories to the sector statement on pay equity - check the web site to see if you have signed up and contact Tessa.Boyd-Caine@acoss.org.au if you haven't.
Better wages are crucial for the sustainability of these vital sectors. The campaign is based on the three key elements of the community sector:
- Services - funding must cover the full cost of services including decent wages to ensure that this vital work is sustained.
- Workers - must be paid decent wages to ensure that the community sector can attract and retain an experienced and effective workforce.
- Clients - depend upon the experience, expertise and support provided by the social and community sector.
Pay equity is critical for service sustainability. Market-based wages are essential for the sustainability of social services, which have been facing growing problems in attracting and retaining staff. Market-based wages are also essential for attracting staff with the skills and experience necessary to ensure the ongoing, effective and efficient delivery of social services to the clients and communities that rely on them.
Objectives of the campaign
- Build support for the principles of the campaign amongst government and opposition parties and the broader community, including commitments for funding where possible.
- Ensure that funding for any pay rises derives from all sources of funding and covers all workers, irrespective of how their position is funded (a key lesson learnt from the Queensland case).
- The need for more systematic engagement with all levels of government and non-government funding sources to maintain wage parity after the resolution of the case.
Download the ACOSS Resources Kit to support your campaigning activities and help make pay equity a reality for community workers.