Letters to the editor

A step forward for some early childhood teachers

I am an early childhood teacher in day-to-day charge of a rural mobile preschool and nominated Supervisor/Educational Leader at a rural preschool.

I asked my management committee several years ago about an enterprise agreement and I was told in no uncertain terms that “I was being paid the award and that was sufficient”.

I have discussed this with IEU Organisers Tina Smith, Lisa James and Jackie Groom, and although I’d really love to do something further with an enterprise agreement, I know that this will cause ‘angst’ at the preschool within both the staff team (of two, myself and an educator who is also the clerical officer) and the committee, especially with the increase in modern award wages on 1 July 2023.

It was fabulous news (and it was great to see the IEU front and centre on the television news) about this wage increase and being able to join with other services to create an enterprise agreement, so we are not just ‘islands’ on our own.

My understanding is that it works for federally funded services only and not state funded services, such as stand-alone preschools like mine.

So, it feels like, yet again, two steps forwards and three steps backwards: with division in the early childhood education and care world.

Be that as it may, I would like to congratulate the IEU on all the hard work that it has done, and continues to do, regarding wages and fair pay to early childhood teachers.

I have been there for the long haul, and the dedication and commitment to early childhood members from the IEU is beyond outstanding.

Thank you for running PD sessions for early childhood members. I hope you often get a great response, and the sessions are a huge success, as I know everyone who attends learns a lot and gains a great deal from it.

Name and membership number supplied

Letter to Unions NSW Executive: Placement poverty

I am writing to update you on the progress we have made in our fight to end unpaid placement in higher education, and to express our gratitude for the support you have provided. We have achieved meaningful progress in our campaign and grown to engage over 1000 young workers across the country. By coming together, they have learned the value of unity and the strength it brings to our cause. The passion and dedication exhibited by these students and young workers are truly inspiring, and we firmly believe that this fight is a union fight.

Our efforts have not gone unnoticed by the government, as evidenced by the draft release of the Higher Education Accords, This signifies that our voices are being heard, and we are making tangible progress in our pursuit of justice for unpaid student labour. However, we are aware that there is still much work to be done, and it is only with the continued and unwavering support of the union movement that we can hope to provide a living wage to the 60,000 students who are currently providing their labour without remuneration.

The impact of unpaid placements on these students’ lives is profound, often leading to financial hardship and impeding their ability to fully focus on their education. By standing together as a united force, we can bring about the changes necessary to ensure a brighter future for these young workers, and the generations to come. In light of our achievements so far, we are determined to keep pushing forward, bringing this fight to the conference floor and continuing to advocate for the rights and fair treatment of all students who endeavour to enter fields impacted by the essential worker crisis.

Once again, we express our sincerest gratitude to the Unions NSW Executive for standing by us in this campaign. Together, we can build a society where workers’ rights are respected and where every individual is compensated fairly for their labour.

Thank you for your continued support. www.facebook.com/StudentsAgainstPlacementPoverty/

Isaac Wattenberg Students Against Placement Poverty