Kath Williams: The Unions and the Fight for Equal Pay

By Zelda D’Aprano | Go to book overview

8
1963 to 1964,
the ACTU and equal pay

Early in 1963 the VTHC EP Committee reminded all unions to attend the meeting to prepare for Equal Pay Week and to discuss decisions made by the ACTU Executive during the previous year. The Committee sent a circular to all the unions in appreciation of the support from various unions for the campaign being organised around the forthcoming ACTU Congress and the subsequent National Conference on Equal Pay. The ACTU Executive decided that unions with female members would conduct this EP Conference. Forty-six unions had female members. Plans were already in motion to rally wide support for the introduction of equal pay legislation in Victoria.

The EP Committee sent a bulletin to unions for distribution to industries for display on their union notice-boards: ‘HELP THE WOMEN, KEEP YOUR JOB.’1

The bulletin stressed that women had the right and the need for work and they could not be kept out. Where unions tried to do this they failed, hence the urgent need for equal pay. The CIG dispute was used to publicise the threat of women’s cheap labor. The clothing, butchers, boot and printing trades were all cited as industries where the employers were successful in having male jobs classified as female jobs and paid at female rates.

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