Australia’s early childhood educators will walk off the job on March 27 to demand the government fund equal pay.
And today educators launch a national TV, radio and newspaper campaign to ask the Australian community to support their fight.
Some centres will be closed for the whole day and parents are being asked to keep their children at home.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull failed to deliver funding for equal pay by the 1 February 2018 deadline set by educators. His refusal has triggered the national ad campaign and the biggest walk off of educators Australia has ever seen.
The TV ad launching tonight features children asking, “90% of our brain is formed in our first four years, so why are our educators paid so little?” and “if you don’t value our educators, you don’t value our education.”
On 27 March 2018 an unprecedented level of action will take place across Australia in the fight for equal pay. More centres than ever will be closing as educators walk out for equal pay. For the first time centres will close for the whole day, others will close at lunchtime and some centres will close certain rooms.
Early childhood educator Gwendolyn Alcock says, “After years of fighting for pay equity, early childhood educators have had enough. It is not acceptable that educators can be paid as little as $21 an hour. Due to the Turnbull government’s continued inaction, this pay rate is dwarfed by wages in male-dominated sectors.
“On Tuesday 27 March 2018, educators will embark on our third nationwide walk off in twelve months, and in record numbers. We are walking off to show how serious we are about the equal pay issue.”
Helen Gibbons, Assistant National Secretary, United Voice, the early childhood union says, “From today, educators will take the message to the Australian public that time is up. We are asking the community to stand with us to fight the appalling gender pay gap facing this vital, growing, and important workforce.
“Educators gave Malcolm Turnbull a deadline to fix the sector’s low levels of pay, and once again he has failed to meet the deadline and let educators down. We have an educated, skilled workforce only earning around $21 an hour, that’s half the average wage – and this inequitable situation can no longer be tolerated.
“We are asking parents to support the national action on 27 March. If families keep their under-fives at home, educators can participate in the walk offs to fight for professional pay in recognition of their qualifications, skills and experience. Everyone knows parents can’t afford to pay more, that’s why the government must support this issue and fund the professional pay Australia’s educators deserve.
“On March 27 we will see unprecedented action from the sector; it will be the biggest educator walk off Australia has ever seen. For the first time ever many centres will close for the day and thousands of families will be affected – this is happening because educators are angry and frustrated at the continued lack of action from the government.
“It is outrageous that in 2018 female-dominated industries in Australia are still fighting to receive equal pay.”