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Photo: Big Steps

Childcare workers’ chained melody: ‘pay us more’

Union United Voice’s ‘Big Steps’ campaign, concerning higher pay for childcare workers, has taken a giant leap in its efforts. Member protesters chained themselves to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Melbourne office yesterday.

This is despite the fact that the government has publicly disengaged itself from wage disputes.

Bearing signs with slogans such as ‘Educators shape our nation’ and ‘Value our work – equal pay now’, protesters paid homage to ’60s feminist crusader Zelda D’Aprano, who shackled herself to a government building demanding equal pay for women in 1969.

The protest also purposefully coincided with International Women’s Day and its relevant theme, ‘Pledge for parity’.

Big Steps protesters also used the spotlight to promote their online petition, which calls for an increase in childcare wages to be accounted for in the upcoming federal Budget. They have concurrently lodged an application for a pay rise with the Fair Work Commission.
Statistics provided by United Voice show that 94 per cent of childcare workers are female. Further, United Voice states that childcare workers are paid a third less than those who teach older kids.


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  1. Do the childcare workers reported to be paid “a third less than older kids” hold equivalent qualifications and registration requirements?

    The answer is NO. The majority of staff hold a one or two year TAFE competency based early childhood qualification.

    They do not hold 4 year degrees from universities or teacher registration. Nor are they required to prove continual professional development to maintain their registration. Some staff hold a one year qualification which under the current requirements would be deemed ineligible to meet the criteria but are not required to update.

    They are also not required under the current child care National Regulations to provide anywhere near the standard of assessment and reporting for the curriculum required for older children.

    Lets compare apples to apples.

    • What about those of us early childhood educators working in long day care that do have 4 year university qualifications and are registered with VIT but still being paid a minimal wage. What can be done to get all long day care ECT’s off the award and on to the agreement??

  2. I am an early childhood educator and centre Director and I whole heartedly agree that early childhood educators do not get paid enough for everything their job entails i.e care and education of children and collaboration and interaction with a large and varying array of parents. However I don’t think that comparing the wages to people who teach older children is helpful though as stated above CCWs receive 1/3 less than those who teach older children, CCW’s actually do a 1/3 less training than teachers and I have found that us comparing our wages to teaching staff who have trained to obtain a degree only further creates a barrier between the relationship of early childcare staff and teachers. We need to work towards being valued for our own work and not compare.

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