UWU members vote for historic strike action in the wake of ECEC workforce crisis

UWU members vote for historic strike action in the wake of ECEC workforce crisis

by Freya Lucas

July 21, 2022

Early childhood education and care (ECEC) union members have voted to take historic action to address the crisis situation the sector is currently facing, calling on members and supporters to take national strike action on 7 September. 


“Educators everywhere are going to take national action, shut down the early learning sector and take to the streets,” a United Workers Union (UWU) release announced, with Helen Gibbons, UWU’s Director of Early Education saying “educators are sick of being stuck”. 


“After nearly a decade of inaction, the new Federal Government needs to commit to an urgent plan to fix the early education sector,” she said, outlining the Union’s position and calling on the Federal Government to “urgently outline a plan and timeline to deliver on three key priorities,” namely:


  • ‘Give us a reason to stay and pay us what we are worth’,
  • ‘Value early learning as part of the education system, just as important as schools’, and
  • Put children before profit.


“The only way out of the crisis in early learning is real reform that respects educators,” Ms Gibbons added.  


UWU noted that with educators leaving the sector in record numbers every week, due to burn-out, workload and low pay, and with centres across the country having to limit enrolments, close rooms and cancel staff leave, children and families are suffering due to the strain.


“Yesterday’s meeting was just the start,” Ms Gibbons said. “Educators are talking to each other all over the country and building a nationwide action.”


The date for strike action is 7 September because  it is Early Childhood Educators Day, which was created by the Australian Childcare Alliance to recognise and celebrate the work of Australia’s educators in early learning services for their contribution to the wellbeing and healthy development of the young children in their care.


More information about the work of UWU may be found here