The union movement is the most powerful force in existence for securing fair pay and fair treatment of women in the workforce. We are proud to say that the AMIEU has always been at the forefront of that fight.
All the way back in 1969, the AMIEU broke new ground by taking the Meat and Allied Trades Federation of Australia to court to fight for equal pay for women. At this time, employers were paying men substantially more than women for identical work based on archaic assumptions of gender roles, and the AMIEU was the first union to challenge this in the Australian courts.
Despite a difficult and gruelling court case, the AMIEU emerged victorious — securing equal pay for equal work.
However only three short years later in 1972 we were back in the courts again as employers across the nation did their best to weasel around the ruling. Bosses everywhere were quickly reclassifying certain jobs as “women’s work” so that they could continue to pay the people who did that work — who just happened to be women — lower wages rather than pay equal to that of a man.
One survey published at the time found that an incredible 60 per cent of employers had hastily reclassified women’s jobs onto a different (and lower) scale to men in similar work. Soon the AMIEU was back in the courts again to have this underhanded behaviour stamped out once and for all and over the next five years the gender pay gap was slashed by 19%!
The case was the first of its kind and set the precedent for women in the meat working industry (and all industries across Australia!) to be paid fairly for the hard work they do.
Unions have been fighting for equal pay ever since, and the fight isn’t over. At the end of 2017, the AMIEU secured first of its kind paid domestic violence leave for the dairy workers we represent at the Norco Lismore ice-cream factory.
As domestic violence overwhelmingly affects women, this new provision will be invaluable to women suffering from abuse and violence. They will no longer need to choose between their safety or their salary, and will be able to have the time to get the help they need without losing their job.
The fight for equality in the workplace continues. Join the AMIEU, stand together with the union movement, and be part of the tide that changes history for the better.