This is an agreement which can cover multiple employers, provided they share common interests, and meet a few other technical requirements under the Fair Work Act. 

This is an agreement which can cover multiple employers, provided they share common interests, and meet a few other technical requirements under the Fair Work Act. 

For example, although the ECEC sector is made up of many different businesses, corporations and single entities, we can in fact come together as one, as we are all early learning (childcare) services. 

Last year, after union members campaigning hard, the Parliament passed laws to reform national workplace relations laws and made it possible for these MEB’s to be created. 

When the Federal Government announced these news laws in Canberra, they used ECEC as an example of a sector that should use it. They stated that the new stream was intended to assist those employees and employers in low paid industries like ECEC.  

On June 6th2023 the United Workers Union (UWU),  made an  application for a supported bargaining authorisation for an MEB to the Fair Work Commission (FWC).  

Through more than 12 months’ consultation and discussion by your union across the sector, the decision was made to make the initial application for just a small group of 73 employers, covering around 500 profit and not-for-profit services across the whole country. Those employers all agreed to be included in the union’s application.  

The FWC gave authorisation on 27 September 2023 and now bargaining has started between the parties for the proposed MEB. These ECEC services are represented by 3 employer groups and including CCCA & CELA who are covering not-for-profit services, ACA who are covering several small private services and G8 (The fact that G8 are part of this is pretty big). Nationally, the educators in those providers are represented by our union, United Workers Union UWU) and the AEU Australian Education Union who have coverage of ECTs in VIC, and IEU Independent Education Union who also have coverage of ECTs in NSW.

UWU is pushing strongly for three key claims endorsed by over 11,000 educators for the MEB bargain: 

  • 25% Government funded pay increase for all educators  
  • Professional Development for ALL Educators each year. 
  • Better Union rights within services 

Each Employer group, Unions and the Government will negotiate on the final claims.  

There have already been 5meetings with the union and employer groups.  

The federal Government has also been called to the table in the Fair Work Commission after an application by UWU. 

UWU is represented in the actual negotiations by 2 officials, along with 6 educator delegates from across the country and is at the table  sharing your stories about why this needs to happen and why it needs to happen now. Those 6 delegates are part of a much broader national committee of UWU educator representatives from providers all over the country (more about that below). 

This process needs to happen quickly as we need to get educators wages moving now. 

Having 12,000 centres from across the country involved at the same time would take forever to agree on everyone’s claims. 

This does not mean you will miss out! 

A major part of these negotiations is that once this MEB and new standard is set, it should be available to ALL centres that want to be part of it. 

Other services will be able to apply to be part of the MEB too. 

It is important to know that this is NOT a change to the award and WILL NOT roll out automatically to centres. Centres will have to apply to have these conditions. 

Unions are also advocating that services not part of the initial MEB should be eligible for any government-funded sector pay rises that come out of that process, and it is a key principle of the union’s position that no worker should go backwards or lose current conditions as part of this process. 

If your service has an existing EBA with above award conditions, then you will be able to have the MEB put into your agreement. Therefore, you will have the new MEB conditions on top of your existing EBA conditions.

It is important that services not part of the initial 73 ECEC employers start building Union membership within your services, so that when the time comes, you are ready to go. 

Services should aim for a majority of members within their service (50% + 1). The reason for this is that the majority of employees of your centre have to genuinely agree to be part of the MEB,   

If your management committee or owner say no then, your union can assist you as a staff team  to apply to the Fair Work Commission to be part of the MEB Agreement. 

Basically, you can say to the FWC “We want to do this, look, the majority of our staff agree, but our service provider said no. The FWC can then force your service provider to have the MEB Agreement apply to them. This is called “roping in”. This essentially means that they will have no choice but to be under the MEB Agreement, because the FWC told them to. 


The other important part about becoming a Union member is also about standing together, united as a sector and showing the Government that we are one, that we, as a sector, are a force to be reckoned with and remind them that without us, there will be no sector. Without us, the Government will not be able to fulfil the promises they have given to Australia’s families about available and affordable “child care”. 

Our sector is in major crisis and this process is a massive step forward. It is the most significant thing to happen to us in what feels like forever and things are moving quickly. It is important that we all stand together on this to get it over the line and finally get what we have been fighting for so long. 

If you would like further information about this process and want to get further involved, then there are several ways you can do this. 

You can contact me, and I can put you in contact with your local organiser, or you can contact Michelle or Renee directly. 

You can nominate yourself or someone at your service to be the “Setting the standard” representative for your service. This will give them access to monthly zoom meetings with other educators across the country, where not only is information about the campaign is shared; but it is also this committee who make the decisions about the campaign and have real input  about what will happen. They will also be able to join a WhatsApp group, which also has first hand information shared on it. 

There is also a great Facebook page called “Early Educators United”. This is a great page to not only get information about the campaign, but to also network with other educators, sharing ideas, questions and other info about our sector. This is accessible to anyone, you do not have to be a union member to join. 


If there was ever a time for you to consider union membership, then this is the time. This is the most significant thing to happen to our sector and we must take full advantage of it. 

I have no doubt that you would see the power that Teachers, nurses and transport unions have, our sector should be the same.  

Educators have a new opportunity to change the sector, but for educators to win, we need more voices and stronger action than we’ve ever taken before.