Pay equity — there ought to be a law

B.C.’s largest union of women is calling on all MLAs to support a strong pay equity law during the upcoming legislative session that begins next week.

“It’s past time that we put a proper value on women’s work instead of discounting it by 27 cents on the dollar,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “A legislative framework that calls for a proactive approach to implementing pay equity will raise the living standards of B.C. families.”

Allnutt says that in the absence of pay equity legislation, HEU members have bargained pay equity provisions into the collective agreement covering 45,000 of its members — of whom 87 per cent are women.

“As a result of our pay equity victories, women in our union have made slow but steady progress towards achieving equal pay for work of equal value,” says Allnutt. “That progress would never have been made if we had waited for employers to take action voluntarily.

“But many women don’t have access to pay equity language in their collective agreements and many others don’t even have a union,” adds Allnutt. “For these women, pay equity legislation is the path to fair pay — employer volunteerism is not.”

HEU is supporting a B.C. Federation of Labour campaign to make sure pay equity becomes the law. That campaign includes radio advertising starting today — International Women’s Day — and a noon hour rally in Victoria coinciding with the opening of the legislature on March 14.

You can read the provincial government’s discussion document on pay equity at .