Thousands rally in Australia over better pay for women

12:38, June 10, 2010      

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Thousands of protesters on Thursday rallied in Australia's state of Victoria to demand better pay for women.

Speaking to reporters at a rally in the state capital of Melbourne, Australian Services Union assistant secretary Lisa Darmanin said the average gender pay gap for women was 18 percent, but up to 35 percent in the community sector.

"We're outraged that, in this day and age, women in the community sector still are not valued for the work they do," Darmanin said in his speech.

The protests have been called to support the Australian Services Union, which has been fighting to lift the pay rate in the community services sector, generally dominated by women.

They have launched a landmark test case with the industrial watchdog to increase the weekly pay by 100 dollars (83.3 U.S. dollars), or 25 percent.

If successful, the move could see some 200,000 social and community service, mostly female, workers better off.

The union has labeled it a key offensive in the fair pay battle of the sexes.

"This week's action around the nation will clearly show that the battle for pay equity is far from over," the union spokeswomen Linda White said in a statement.

"Women in full time paid work still earn 18 percent less on average than men, which equates to 1 million dollar (0.83 million U.S. dollars) less over a lifetime."

The Australian Council of Trade Union's Sharan Burrow said it was a top priority for unions in 2010.

The workers marched to the Victorian parliament to deliver a petition in support of their claims.



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