Workers gather wanting change
A series of Australia wide rallies have been organised between 18 October and 20 November 2018 by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in support of a rule change that would see pay rises in line with the rising cost of living.
Thousands of workers from all sectors are expected to fill the streets in 22 locations around Australia, calling on the Federal Government to change the rules to support wage growth. The ACTU reports that wage growth is at near record lows, with four out of five working people not receiving pay rises that keep up with the cost of living.
Comments from the ACTU that the current Australian minimum wage is not a living wage, and is no longer enough to keep people out of poverty, are consistent with feedback from those within the early childhood education and care sector, with Certificate 3 qualified educators receiving on average $809 per week before tax, which is approximately half the average weekly earnings for all occupations.
Research has shown that the impact of current award wages and conditions, and a lack of parity with colleagues doing similar work in other ECEC settings (such as preschools and schools) is the most likely reason for early childhood teachers (ECTs) to leave long day care settings.
Citing a statistic that 28,000 people working in full time positions are homeless, in spite of their employment, the ACTU highlighted the insecurity of the job market, with casual work, contract dependent roles, labour hire roles, under-employment and the gig economy being tabled as concerns, calling for the creation of jobs people can count on.
“Our wages are going backwards, families are struggling, too many people are stuck in insecure work.” ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said “It is not right that profits are up, CEO bonuses are up, but our pay is not.”
The ACTU is using the rallies to call for working people to be given the tools and power to win fair pay rises, including: making the bargaining system fair, increasing the minimum wage to a living wage, ensuring award minimums improve over time, restoring penalty rates, and secure and equal pay for women.