Today (Thursday 7th September), it is estimated that 3000 to 4000 Early Childhood Educators throughout Australia walked off the job at 3:20 pm to protest over pay conditions, calling for an increase of 35 per cent. It is the largest early education walk - off in Australia's history.
Frustrated that the government is continually failing to address the equal pay issue, thousands of early childhood educators are escalating their action. In an unprecedented move, it will be the second walk off this year in their fight for professional pay.
Helen Gibbons, who is with United Voice — the union representing childcare workers — said it was frustrating the campaign had come to strike action.
"Everybody knows how important early education is, and everybody knows how important early educators are," she said.
Ms Gibbons said early childhood educators were undervalued because their work was seen as women's work that they did the job for love alone.
"They are a highly-educated, skilled workforce but only earn around $21 an hour. As long as the government continues to ignore them and pass the buck on funding equal pay, from here on in they will continue to escalate their action".
“It is outrageous that in 2017 female-dominated industries are still fighting to receive equal pay. This needs to be a national priority.”
Educators thoughout the the country walked off the job, while other centres shut down this afternoon to demand equal pay and rallied together at:
- Brunswick, Victoria
- Blacktown NSW
- Big Steps Rally at Musgrave Park, Brisbane
- Casuarina Child Care Centre, Northern Territory
- ACT rally outside Parliment House
- Minnawarra Park, Perth
And many more locations all over Australia. Educators in Melbourse are voting on a motion to massively escalate this campaign and have a nation wide shut down if Malcolm Turnbull doesn't fund equal pay.
Many parents who were inconvenienced by the strike said they were nonetheless supportive of the action, and said staff should be paid more.
At rallies across the country, union members voted to take further industrial action.
- ABC News, Childcare Workers Walk Off The Job, September 07 2017
- Big Steps, Educators Announce National Walk Offs, Media Release, September 04 2017