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Saskatoon: The Calvert government must make wage equality a priority because pay discrimination continues to be the day-to-day reality for most working women, says CUPE National President Paul Moist.

Moist, who is in Saskatoon to address a CUPE womens conference tonight, says now that Saskatchewan is considered a have province theres no excuse for not implementing pay equity legislation, adding most provinces enacted laws years ago.

Saskatchewan women working full-time in Saskatchewan earned an average of $32,400 in 2002, while their male counterparts earned about $11,400 more.

Saskatchewan women not only have received much less than they deserved under the NDP, they have received much less than they were promised, Moist says.

The NDP promised to introduce pay equity legislation during the 1991 provincial election. Former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow repeated the promise in 1997, saying legislation would be introduced before he retired. He retired, but the legislation never materialized.

Moist acknowledged the governments pay equity policy framework introduced in 1997 has enabled workers in specific public sector workplaces to achieve pay equity and internal wage parity. But, he notes, the policy has not been expanded for five years and it excludes far more people than it covers.

Although CUPE represents more women than any other union in the province, the majority of our members who work in Saskatchewan schools, universities, libraries, municipalities and community-based agencies are not covered by the governments pay equity policy, Moist says.

Moist says its time for the NDP to act because working women cannot afford to carry all of the costs of pay discrimination.

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Paul Moist at 613-558-2873 or Beth Smillie at 382-8262.

The CUPE National President will address the CUPE Womens Conference at 7 p.m. tonight at the Delta Bessborough. The media is invited to attend.