The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch held its inaugural Union/industrial relations training day specifically aimed at early childhood teachers on 26 August.
Topics covered on the day include progress on the Equal Remuneration Order and Work Value case; workplace rights and responsibilities; how to be more involved in the enterprise agreement (EA) process and networking with other Union members.
Kate Damo is Director of Community Based Preschool Birrahlee in Lane Cove. She has recently increased IEU membership at the preschool from just herself to five members.
“We’re professionals and belonging to the Union gives us professional recognition.
“We are negotiating our second EA now and we have good pay and conditions, above award rates.
“We have different management boards come every year so unless we have a service agreement there are no guarantees. It’s important to be in the IEU because there is no stability.
“There are so many misconceptions around about the role of early childhood teachers, even from other teachers.”
Mary-Anne Mamarelis has been Director at Canterbury Community Child Care Centre for 17 years and an early childhood teacher since 1991, when she joined the IEU.
She believes in being an advocate for early childhood education. They are currently negotiating an EA at her service and she wanted to gain general information that might help all the staff.
“It’s extremely valuable to be in the IEU , knowing your rights and getting regular information and being made aware of your value.
“Being in a standalone centre being supported by the IEU is an important factor for me.”
Durrah Cook has three years’ experience as an early childhood teacher in Singapore and eight years in Australia. She’s a teacher at Naremburn Early Learning Centre and believes a teacher is a teacher.
“There’s a lot of difference between an early childhood teacher compared to a primary or high school teacher in terms of what we are paid and the benefits we get,” Durrah said.
“I want to do something about that and make a change by being in the Union.
“Why should we be paid less because we are teaching a younger age group? We should be paid exactly the same as everyone in similar roles.”
The award and enterprise agreement workshop encouraged participants to develop practical skills giving them confidence to look up specific working conditions in their own workplaces.
Participants indicated they were looking forward to sharing what they learned in the training with the teachers at their own workplaces.