The Australian Education Union Victorian Branch joined the United Workers Union and the Independent Education Union on Tuesday in applying to the Fair Work Commission to commence multi-employer bargaining for early childhood teachers and educators.
Meredith Peace, AEU Victorian Branch President, said the union is campaigning for a 25% pay rise for early childhood teachers and educators, who remain among the lowest paid workers in Australia.
“For far too long, our economy has relied on the good will and dedication of underpaid and undervalued early childhood teachers and educators,” Peace said.
“This is a workforce that must be supported and must be offered fairer wages and better conditions.”
Peace said the passing of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay legislation is critical to enable unions, employers and government to work constructively together ensuring that early childhood workers have better access to multi employer bargaining and are able to be a part of industry-based agreements that provide for better pay and conditions.
“This comes at a critical time for Victoria, where the State Government’s Best Start Best Life reforms will lead to expanded three and four-year-old kindergarten programs across the state over the next ten years, resulting in a demand for more than 11,000 additional early childhood teachers and educators,” Peace said.
“Ensuring fair wages and better working conditions will be critical to attracting and retaining the early childhood workforce.”
Peace noted that the AEU Victorian Branch has “a long, proud history” of enterprise bargaining, having secured the first multi-employer agreement in early childhood in 1998.
“We remain committed to working hard to ensure that more early childhood teachers and educators benefit for the better wages and conditions arising from union-negotiated agreements.”
The original version of this article appeared as a media release from the AEU’s Victoria branch.