Ground-breaking work for early childhood teachers begins

IEU Industrial Officer Michael Aird, Organiser Lisa James and Deputy Secretary Carol Matthews

IEU representatives met with early childhood education and care (ECEC) employers at the Fair Work Commission on 27 October to negotiate for better pay and conditions.

Talks will continue until at least the end of the year. The negotiations take advantage of the Secure Work Better Jobs Act introduced this June, under which unions can bargain for enterprise agreements with groups of employers, in this case 64 ECEC employers.

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said the IEU is seeking substantial wage rises for ECEC teachers.

“This is a tremendous development in the industrial relations landscape, and we welcome the Fair Work Commission’s support of the Federal Labor Government’s new industrial relations laws,” Northam said.

“Thousands of long day care teachers could benefit from this decision. This is a critical step in addressing the crisis in the early childhood sector.”

The IEU, along with the United Workers Union (UWU), which represents ECEC educators in NSW, and the Australian Education Union (AEU), which represents ECEC teachers in Victoria, jointly initiated the Fair Work Commission application.

The Federal Government, the funding body in this case, will also be a party to the discussions.

Northam said, “Early childhood education teachers have been leaving the sector in droves. We need to close the gap in pay and respect between university-qualified early childhood teachers and their colleagues in schools. We need to start valuing the incredible work our early childhood teachers are performing every day.”