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Australia: Historic gender pay decision narrows pay gap

Fair Work Australia has found in favour of the Australian Services Union in a claim for 150,000 community workers in Australia. The decision will raise the pay of mainly female workers by 40 to 65 per cent over the coming eight years.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard welcomed the ruling as a “significant advance for equal pay for women”. The decision is regarded as the most important equal pay case since 1972 when equal pay for work of equal value was formally recognized in Australia.

It is more than likely than many other unions across Australia will pursue similar claims based on the ruling with a narrowing of the pay gap across the labour force and particularly amongst poorly paid groups too often dominated by women.