Early Childhood Staff To Strike In March
Early childhood educators across the country say "enough is enough" to a "measly" $21 per hour and will walk off the job next month in a fight for better pay.
Parents were being asked to keep their children at home on Tuesday, March 27, so educators can send a message to the Turnbull government about how serious they were about the equal pay issue.
The action came after the federal government failed to meet a February 1 deadline set by their union to deliver funding for equal pay.
"Malcolm Turnbull has driven educators to take this extreme step as he continues to ignore their demand for equal pay," Helen Gibbons, assistant national secretary of United Voice, the early childhood union told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.
Childcare workers were being paid half the average weekly wage, which can no longer be tolerated, she said.
"Everybody knows this except Malcolm Turnbull," she said.
The industry, made up mostly of women, is pushing for a 30 per cent pay rise for workers.
"After years of fighting for pay equity, early childhood educators have had enough," said early childhood educator Gwendolyn Alcock on Sunday.
Being paid a "measly" $21 an hour was "unacceptable" said Ms Alcock, who has worked in the industry for seven years.
"This is not satisfactory. It's why we're embarking on our biggest action yet," she said.
On Sunday, a national TV, radio and newspaper campaign was launched asking Australians to back their fight.
"We can't continue to have a world-class system with people being paid appalling wages to deliver it," Ms Gibbons said.
"We are asking the community to stand with us to fight," she said.
It was "outrageous that in 2018 female-dominated industries in Australia are still fighting to receive equal pay," she said.
Parents, she said, can't afford to pay any more for education - the federal government needed to step in and fund the sector properly.
"Parents across Australia know very clearly where the blame for this lies," Ms Gibbons said.
Ms Gibbons said the situation has been an escalating crisis. It's the third nationwide walk-off in the past 12 months in the sector.
More than 3000 childcare workers last walked out of centres nationwide on September 7.
On March 27, some childcare centres will close for the whole day, others will close at lunchtime and yet others will close certain rooms.