Union says educators have been “betrayed” by Government’s withdrawal of JobKeeper
Those working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector have been “betrayed” by the sudden withdrawal of JobKeeper, the United Workers Union have said.
Mr Tehan’s announcement “has only created more confusion for the sector” a Union spokesperson said, criticising the Minister for “doing nothing to fix the ongoing funding problems and need for reform” and leaving the ECEC workforce “subject to another spiral of instability once fees are reintroduced”.
Director of Early Education Helen Gibbons said that the Union and the educators it represents are “appalled that ECEC is the first sector to have JobKeeper removed. Just a few months ago educators were essential, now they are disposable”.
The decision, which Ms Gibbon’s dubbed “chaotic and confusing” leaves the ECEC workforce at risk should demand drop again once parent fees are reintroduced, she added, saying the COVID-19 crisis “exposed what we already know – that early education is an essential service with essential workers”.
“In March we saw an unprecedented response of direct funding and wage subsidies by the Federal Government to avoid the collapse of the early learning sector,” Ms Gibbons said.
“Educators were required to continue operating throughout COVID-19, at significant personal risk. Now the government has singled them out.”
Critical of Mr Tehan’s statement that educators “may earn a tiny bit less”, Ms Gibbons said it was “another demonstration of how little Mr Tehan understands the issues facing educators. Many workers in ECEC already live pay cheque to pay cheque. Any further reduction in income is too much.”
“The only way to fix the sector properly is to start listening to educators. Educators are fighting for a sector that ensures every child can access the early education and care they need and that every educator is properly valued for their work,” she added.
To read the statement in full, please see here.