Fighting on two fronts: Goodstart and KU

On 28 February, the IEU, along with delegates from two other unions, travelled to Canberra to meet with federal ministers and other politicians to press for better pay and conditions for teachers at Goodstart Early Learning centres.

The IEU is calling for any government-funded pay increases that come from the multi-employer Supported Bargaining Agreement for long day care centres to be passed on to teachers at Goodstart long day care centres.

Talking to MPs

IEU organiser Kate Damo and industrial officer Verena Heron, together with IEU member Kylie Clewett and representatives from Goodstart Early Learning met with Federal Minister for Early Childhood Education Dr Anne Aly and Federal Minister for Education Jason Clare about the need for professional recognition for early childhood teachers through a pay rise.

Teachers and educators also had the opportunity to share their stories with Labor politicians Sally Sitou MP (Member for Reid), Lisa Chesters MP (Member for Bendigo), Senator Jess Walsh (Victoria), Senator Karen Grogan (South Australia) and Patrick Gorman MP (Member for Perth). Patrick Gorman shared that his mother is a dedicated early childhood teacher who recently won a lifetime commitment award from Early Childhood Australia.

IEU member Kylie Clewett shared her personal story and advocated for teachers to be recognised and paid as professionals. Kylie said the sector is experiencing a staffing crisis and we need to act urgently and collectively for change. Kylie encouraged all early childhood teachers and educators to speak up for change.

Education Minister Jason Clare listened to our concerns and demonstrated an understanding of the staffing crisis in the early childhood education and care sector.

We look forward to the outcomes of the Supported Bargaining Agreement for long day care centres and we’re hopeful of some positive news for the sector in the May federal budget.


Goodstart has said it will not commit to wage increases until the outcomes of the Supported Bargaining Agreement in long day care centres are known.

As the largest not-for-profit early learning provider, Goodstart has a big impact on the sector. It recently needed to shut some of its rooms due to staff shortages. A meaningful pay increase could go a long way to attracting and retaining teachers, Damo says.

Bargaining for a new enterprise agreement for Goodstart teachers continued the day after the IEU’s visit to Canberra. Unions and delegates heard the employer’s response to our log of claims. Disappointingly, our claim for a 30-minute paid lunch break for teachers was rejected, as were our claims for an increase to non-contact time and personal leave. But we will not let this rest.

Our claim for a closedown period between Christmas and New Year was supported in principle, but only if Goodstart can successfully lobby the government to apply CCS funding during this time.

Goodstart supports our claim of developing a working party to review the amount of documentation and administrative work teachers are required to do.

Increases to pay and allowances will not be decided until a decision is made about the Supported Bargaining Agreement in the Fair Work Commission.

The next Goodstart bargaining meeting will be held in late March and we will update members at the time.


Negotiations continue for better pay and conditions at KU Children’s Services.

IEU organisers Lisa James and Kate Damo met with KU representatives on 6 March.

The current offer, which was rejected by 90 per cent of members who provided feedback, falls short in critical areas, including administration time for directors and time for Educational Leaders to fulfill their duties, such as reviewing the centre program and mentoring other teachers and educators.

As it stands, Educational Leaders are not allocated any time at KU centres and directors are expected to fit this into their administration time, which is taken up by compliance tasks.

Members at KU centres tell us they are regularly working 10-20 hours of unpaid overtime per week. The union is calling for a minimum of four hours per week for Educational Leaders and at least two days of non-contact time per week for directors.

Representatives from KU say they are listening to members’ concerns. The union will continue to fight for a better deal for KU teachers.

KU is currently undertaking financial modelling.

Kate Damo and Lisa James