It’s time to fix a broken system
IEUA Federal Secretary Christine Cooper met with Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education Anne Aly recently to discuss the workforce crisis in the early education sector and how it could be addressed.
“We need pay equity for early childhood teachers with school teachers and we need proper funding in order to get that pay equity. For too long funding to the sector has been piecemealed and drip fed,” Cooper (pictured above, third from left) said.
“Early childhood providers squirrel away their funds because they don’t know what’s going to happen year by year. This funding uncertainty puts downward pressure on wages.
“We’ve also got a fragmented industrial relations process, with site-by-site bargaining with lots of small employers.
“The sector struggles under collective bargaining legislation that not only fragments it into single site or employer group agreements but also disempowers employees’ capacity to negotiate – it hands control to aggressive employers determined to make no real concessions.
“Governments need to consider a sector-wide industrial relations approach that provides professional rates of pay and conditions.
“Early childhood teachers’ wages should also be on parity with school teachers’ wages, and negotiated in the same way.”