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Hundreds of childcare workers to strike

Hundreds of childcare workers across the country are set to walk off the job on International Women’s Day to protest their pay rates, urging the Turnbull government to help.

Early childhood educators will urge the federal government to include policies to improve their pay in this year’s budget, by launching a joint strike at 3.20 pm on Wednesday.

Union United Voice says some are being paid as little as $20 an hour, half the average national average.

“Their business and mortgages aren’t smaller than anybody else’s and $20 an hour doesn’t cut it”, United Voice assistant national secretary Helen Gibbons told ABC TV on Sunday.

Ms Gibbons said they’re urging the government to act because parents can’t afford to pay more, and workers were leaving the industry because of low pay.

“They go into it with big hearts and a lot of professionalism and a lot of experience and a lot of qualifications”, Gibbons said.

“But they find when it comes to having their own family or making choices about buying a house or where they want to live, that they can’t afford to stay in the sector.”

Government frontbencher David Gillespie said the strike wouldn’t be welcomed by many mums and dads.

“I don’t think [it] will endear them to a lot of the parents who have pretty busy and complex work arrangements”, the assistant health minister told ABC TV.

Pay rate decisions are for the Fair Work Commission, he added.

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