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OTTAWA The federal government should move quickly to enact the positive recommendations released by the federal Pay Equity Task Force says the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Women need economic justice now. Its time for the Paul Martin government to act quickly and legislate an end to discriminatory pay practices at the federal level. Taking the lead will send a clear message to the provinces. Freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right and that includes freedom from wage discrimination, said Paul Moist, CUPEs National President.

The Task Force members should be congratulated, said Maureen Morrison, Director of CUPEs Equality Branch. They listened and put forward comprehensive recommendations that women workers need to close the wage gap. Theyve made history in recognizing other disadvantaged groups workers of colour, Aboriginal people and persons with disabilities who need pay equity, too.

CUPE told the Pay Equity Task Force that women need legislation that tells employers and unions to take positive action to eliminate wage discrimination because the current complaint-based system is a failure.

CUPES fight for pay equity for flight attendants, who are mainly women, is a prime example of the glaring inadequacies of the current system. Complaints laid against Air Canada in 1991 and Canadian Airlines in 1992 dragged through the courts for years. 

In March, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that CUPE flight attendants could be compared with pilots and technicians, putting an end to procedural delays. That ruling paves the way for pay equity to proceed but it could take several more years for flight attendants to see results.

CUPE also says moving pay equity forward on the federal level sends a much-needed message to provinces like BC.

The Campbell governments attack on health care workers wages in BC is a massive clawback of pay equity gains by women in that province, said Moist. Eighty per cent of health care workers in BC are women. Campbells pro-privatization policies are discrimination in action, devastating to women and their families and a setback for entire communities.

CUPE represents more than a half million workers across Canada, the majority of them women.


For further information, contact:

Paul Moist National President 613-558-2873 (cell)

Maureen Morrison National Equality Branch 204-794-5008 (cell) opeiu491