Today thousands of early childhood educators are taking national action. Over a thousand centres in every state and territory, across regional and metropolitan areas around the country are putting the Federal Government on notice: Give us a reason to stay by Christmas, or next year educators will be forced to start closing doors.
Quotes attributable to Helen Gibbons, Early Education Director, United Workers Union:
“On November 10, 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’.
“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.
“Thousands of educators are holding on by a thread leading up to the holiday period. 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.
“Minister Bourke and Minister Aly told educators that new Multi Employer Bargaining laws were the path to real change, and educators listened. On the very first day these laws came into place, unions and providers joined together to apply to the Fair Work Commission for bargaining rights to fix the wages crisis in early education.
“The Federal Government has now committed to attending another meeting before the end of the year, but so far the Government has not given any indication they recognise their role as the funder of an outcome of an Agreement to improve educators’ wages.
“For years educators, providers and families have all been telling the Government just how bad the workforce crisis in the sector is.
“In Sydney this week the early childhood regulator ACECQA is bringing together providers, unions and stakeholders from across the country in a National Workforce Forum to discuss the dire challenges in attracting and retaining early educators.
“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.
“Pay us what we’re worth, or centres won’t stay open next year.”
Quotes attributable to Bec Stiles, early childhood educator:
“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.
“The Government holds the key to fixing the workforce crisis in early education. A Government-funded Agreement achieving better pay and working condition for our sector will keep centre doors open for Australian children and families.”
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