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Pay equity talks begin

Talks have begun on the subject of pay equity at Concordia with employee representatives.

Legislation was introduced in 1996 by the Quebec government to address salary gaps due to systemic gender discrimination. It starts from the premise that women are segregated into a narrow range of occupations, in which their work is undervalued.

Under the legislation, institutions could submit existing programs to a government commission that would evaluate their compliance with the principles of law. Concordia submitted its Job Evaluation Program (JEP), and it was accepted.

However, only two collective bargaining units and one employees' association at Concordia are covered by JEP. They are CUSSU (support staff), CUPEU (professionals) and ACUMAE (managers). Under the law, a pay equity program must be created by November 2001 to cover the remaining employees (with the exception of summer students, interns, certain professional trainees, and senior directors).

The most diverse group of employees in this category includes the library employees, tradesmen, technicians and non-unionized staff. Their representatives make up two-thirds of the central committee, as it is called; the other third is composed of management representatives. Membership of the committee must be at least 50 per cent female.

In order to comply with the law, Concordia must establish a pay equity plan, which it has done, and which the central committee will study and develop; the full-time faculty (CUFA), part-time faculty (CUPFA) and the Continuing Education (CUCEPTFU) unions have decided to develop their own plans.

As well, the university must set up a pay equity committee or committees, who will post their work publicly; train committee members, if needed; disclose to them the information necessary to carry out their responsibilities; and make any necessary adjustments in compensation.

The study includes a compensation comparison between a female-predominant job category and a male-predominant job category. A job category is considered predominantly female or predominantly male if there are 60 per cent or more employees of the same sex in that category. When no female predominance is observed, there is no basis for comparison and no comparison work is necessary.

The work of the committee includes the following chronological steps:

* Identification of predominantly female and male job categories

* Description of evaluation tools and procedure to be used to determine the value of job categories

* Determination of the value of job categories and the valuation of differences in compensation

* Information on the required pay adjustments and the amount of adjustments from November 2001 to November 2005

* With thanks to Robert Lacasse, Human Resources and Employee Relations

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