Educators participate in national action on wages
Early childhood educators from across Australia will take part in national action today, with over a thousand centres in every state and territory pushing back in response to unhappiness about the progression of historic Multi Employer Bargaining negotiations.
Helen Gibbons, Early Education Director of the United Workers Union, has said the message is simple – give educators a reason to stay by Christmas, or next year educators will be forced to start closing doors.
“On 10 November, educators’ historic Multi Employer Bargaining negotiations were joined by Federal Government representatives for the first time as the key funder of the sector. But all they had to say then was ‘thanks, we’ll see you at the end of January next year’,” Ms Gibbons said.
“This is nowhere near good enough. It has left everyone asking if the Government intends to take their role as the key funder of the sector seriously.”
The padlock symbol has been used as part of the national action, Early Childhood Educator Bec Stiles explained.
“Today we’re putting padlocks on the door of every centre to show families and the Government what’s going to happen next year if we don’t get an answer on wages,” she said.
“The Government holds the key to fixing the workforce crisis in early education. A government-funded agreement achieving better pay and working conditions for our sector will keep centre doors open for Australian children and families.”
The day of action has been scheduled for today in line with the National Press Club address from The Parenthood’s Jessica Rudd, and also in the lead up to the Christmas and New Year period.
“Thousands of educators are holding on by a thread leading up to the holiday period,” Ms Gibbons said.
“Without a government commitment to fund wages, the workforce crisis will only worsen. If educators are forced to take further action and start closing doors, parents will struggle to go back to work in 2024 after the holiday break.”
Ms Gibbons said that the failure of the Federal Government to “give any indication they recognise their role as the funder of an outcome of an agreement to improve educators’ wages” was frustrating.
“Just last week the Productivity Commission’s Interim Report had a clear message to government: further reforms in early learning cannot go ahead without improvements to educators’ wages. Today educators have their own message for government.”
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