More than 1,000 Australian early childhood education centers are on strike for better pay and conditions

More than 1,000 Australian early childhood education centers are on strike for better pay and conditions

More than 1,000 Australian early childhood education centers are on strike for better pay and conditions

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At least 1,000 crèches across the country will close their doors Wednesday to protest low wages and conditions in what unions believe is the largest union action early educators have taken.

Executive director of early education at the United Workers Union, Helen Gibbons, said around 70,000 families would be affected by Early Childhood Educators Day. It is usually a holiday for child workers.

Gibbons said more than 1,000 centers are registered with the union, but he expected “many more” were planning to join the action and participate in the demonstrations.

Some centers will remain closed all day while others will close for part of Wednesday, Gibbons said. Those serving essential workers or vulnerable children will close some rooms and operate with reduced staff.

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Maggie, who did not want their last name used, lives in Sydney and sends two children to a non-profit childcare center.

Maggie and her husband will both attend the Sydney protest rally with their two children to show support.

“I want to show solidarity with the people who care for my child when I can’t because I have to do my paid work – I want to support them,” Maggie said.

Maggie’s center silently supported staff in action with at least one educator present.

“It’s a vital service and I think there’s not much leeway for people to shop around. That’s why the whole industry needs to be relieved. “

A spokesperson for G8 Education, which runs daycare centers across the country, said some employees will participate in the closure, but services will function normally.

“We will support this where possible, while ensuring continuity of service for our families,” the spokesperson said.

“We are participating in industry discussions about how the government can further support pay and conditions across the industry in a way that doesn’t see overwhelming costs passed on to suppliers and working families.”

KU Children’s Services CEO Christine Legg said KU paid staff in excess of the award salaries and supported an overall raise.

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“KU supports the raising of the status and position of all those working in the early childhood education and care sector,” said Legg. “As an employer of choice, KU invests in delivering industry-leading compensation and benefits to all of our staff – they are truly the heart of our organization.”

The rallies are expected to be held in every capital and in many regional centers.

The union calls on the federal government to “urgently outline a plan and timeframe for achieving three key priorities”: giving childcare workers better pay, valuing the industry as part of the education system, and putting children before profit.

Gibbons said that “if you work in a school setting, you would earn a lot more and that’s why we lose so many people in a school setting,” with child workers earning 30% less than teachers.

He said the industry was “broken” with operators profiting from the low wages of early childhood educators. A report released by the union last year showed that private equity and shareholders owned 68% of all services.

Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education, Anne Aly, told Guardian Australia that the government is committed to providing “cheaper fundamental childcare reforms” that would ensure more families access to childcare. childcare so that mothers could return to work.

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“Our early childhood educators make an important and unique contribution to the lives of our Australian children and families, it is vital that we recognize this work and rightly recognize the workforce as an educator, not a babysitter,” said Aly.

“The Albanian government has announced a series of measures to help close the gender pay gap. Additionally, we will amend the Fair Work Act to allow for multi-employer bargaining, a measure that will help women in the care sector negotiate better deals and wage increases. “

Dissatisfaction with pay and conditions is not limited to the childcare sector, with strikes also expected from airport groundhandling staff in the Qantas supply chain next week and talks to improve nursing relationships ongoing after last week’s strikes.

Workers from Dnata, the company Qantas has entrusted with ground handling, will hold a 24-hour strike on Monday, September 12, while workers from Menzies Aviation in NSW and Victoria will also turn to the Fair Work Commission to hold a vote. for protected action, according to the transport workers union.

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