Educators head to Parliament House to deliver petition to Tehan, calling for more support
As educators around the country prepare to celebrate Early Childhood Educators day, a group of early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals will be “taking action” on the Parliament House Lawns, setting up a display featuring their qualifications and messages to the Federal Government, before delivering a petition to Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, signed by more than 10,000 educators who are calling for more support for educators in lockdown.
United Workers Union Early Childhood Education and Care Director Helen Gibbons explained the motivation behind the action, outlining that the ECEC sector was the first to be cut off from JobKeeper payments, resulting in “months of uncertainty and financial hardship.”
The situation for educators in Victoria is particularly problematic, given the Stage 4 lockdown measures in place.
Mr Tehan has agreed to meet with United Workers Union members today to receive a petition for the Federal Government to provide a wage guarantee to workers in early childhood education and care throughout this crisis.
One member of the delegation is Cassandra, who has worked as a centre director for more than 15 years.
“Educators in Victoria have faced unnecessary uncertainty and hardship through a lack of Federal Government support. Today it’s Victoria, but it could be any of us in the future. We feel hung out to dry” she said, outlining her motivation for attending.
“It’s not good enough to call us heroes. We deserve a safety net like everyone else.”
Ms Gibbons outlined the Union’s position, saying that throughout the pandemic, educators have worked daily to provide quality early education and care while keeping children and communities safe from infection.
“The Federal Government has repeatedly thanked educators for their contributions with empty words” she said, adding that the government has “attempted to fob off educators with a meaningless ‘employment guarantee’ but this guarantee doesn’t prevent part-timers and casuals from facing drastic cuts in hours. The vast majority of the sector is part-time or casual, and they have no safety net.”
The Union is using Early Childhood Educators day to call on the Federal Government to establish a wage guarantee for all early childhood educators during this crisis, and for any future funding to the sector to be tied to wages, to ensure a sustainable early learning sector into the future.