Gowrie NSW and Big Fat Smile become latest providers to join enterprise bargaining application
New South Wales based early childhood education and care (ECEC) providers Gowrie NSW and Big Fat Smile have become the latest large providers to join an application to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to start wage negotiations initially lodged by three unions on 6 June 2023.
The providers, who operate between them around 36 early learning and preschool services as well as 23 outside school hours care, have appointed Community Early Learning Australia Incorporated (CELA) as their designated bargaining representative.
CELA is representing 21 New South Wales and ACT based providers, of which Gowrie NSW and Big Fat Smile, are now by far the largest.
The confirmation of their participation comes as all involved parties post their submissions. The applicants include the Australian Child Care Alliance, Community Child Care Association and G8 Education as well as the United Workers Union, the Australian Education Union – Victorian Branch, and the Independent Education Union of Australia.
The FWC has confirmed that a Full Bench of commissioners will decide on whether to approve the application for wage negotiations over the course of a two-day hearing scheduled for 16 and 17 August 2023.
It is understood that should approval be granted by the FWC they will provide a timeline for when negotiations should begin and also importantly, whether the Government, as a key funder of the ECEC sector, will be directed to participate.
This latter point is particularly important for the broader sector as the Government’s participation raises the probabilities that a funded solution to wage increases may ultimately be forthcoming.
To understand more about what the enterprise bargaining application and process may mean for the ECEC sector, The Sector has created a useful primer here.
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