Thousands of union members have marched the streets across Australia to campaign for equal pay for community sector workers.
More than 20,000 people joined the rallies held at the same time in all capital cities and several smaller regional centres.
The Pay Up! No More Lip Service to Equal Pay campaign is supporting the pay enquiry test case social and community sector workers being run before Fair Work Australia this year, led by the Australian Services Union.
Australian Workers’ Union Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem said the campaign was for justice for community workers highlighted the gender pay gap across all sectors, which is currently running at an average 18 per cent.
“We have a group of predominantly women workers, at the very heart of our community, being exploited. This is the 21st Century and quite frankly, the situation is a disgrace,” said Melhem.
ACTU president Sharan Burrow saidit was clear that women were struggling to make progress towards the goals of equal pay and career advancement.“The gap is so wide that a woman would have to work an extra 66 days a year to earn the same as a man.“It also means that women have far less in their superannuation accounts to retire on, particularly if their career is interrupted by child-bearing.”