Childcare workers walk off job, demand better pay
CHILDCARE workers across Australia are walking off the job today to fight for higher wages.
The Big Steps national campaign will rally thousands of early learning educators whose current award rate is only $3 more than the national minimum wage.
Redbank Plains early learning educator Kirstie Fildef said an archaic view of the sector was to blame for workers not receiving better pay.
"Today's walk-off is to get the Government to recognise our staff are massively underpaid,” Ms Fildef said.
"The Government is saying centres should pass on rising costs to parents, but they're already struggling to pay bills, it's so out of touch.
"I think this attitude is a hangover from a time where educators weren't very skilled, but that's changed now and we have staff who are extremely skilled and many are university-educated.”
Early learning educators union United Voice's Queensland president Sharron Caddie said Ipswich educators had the full support of centre staff and families for the action.
"They are walking off to demand the Turnbull Government recognise their important role and funds equal pay for early educators,” she said.
"Many supportive parents will choose to join educators at rallies as they know the vital role educators play in their children's education.”
Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the role of government was not to run childcare centres.
"I have enormous respect for early learning and child care workers and the work they do,” Mr Birmingham said.
"That's why the Turnbull Government is overhauling child care subsidies and investing an extra $2.5billion to deliver more support and to benefit around one million families.”
Federal Member for Oxley Milton Dick said the changes to childcare were set to worsen circumstances for many families in his electorate.
"The Turnbull Government's unfair child care package fails to value the importance of early childhood education and treats it as nothing but a babysitting service,” Mr Dick said.
"This is reflective in the 3500 families in Oxley who will be worse off under the Government'snew child care package from July 1.”
Today's action is the third rally in the past 12 months.