Childcare educators launch election campaign with march through Melb for equal pay

Today hundreds childcare educators will launch their Federal Election campaign for equal pay with a noisy, colourful march through Melbourne.

Today United Voice has released Reachtel polling of 2053 voters across Bonner (Qld), Macarthur (NSW) and Dunkley (Vic) that shows childcare is a vote-changing issue this election.

poll_childcare.jpgUp to 44 percent of undecided voters say they are less likely to vote Coalition because promised fee relief in its signature Families Package will now not commence until 2018.

A majority of voters in all three seats agreed that childcare educators deserve to be paid a similar wage to workers in the primary and secondary education. About 15,000 Australians have signed a petition supporting equal pay for educators.

At the rally, and throughout the election, educators will call on Malcolm Turnbull and the leaders of other major parties to support their Big Steps campaign for equal pay.

Across Australia there are about 80,000 educators working in long day care centres, educating close to a million children but they earn as little as $20 an hour.

Educators say their work is chronically undervalued because the sector is 95 per cent female.

Last week Bill Shorten said in his Budget in Reply speech a Labor government will “champion the march of women to equality [by] closing the gender pay gap.”

Speaking at today’s rally is Brendan O’Connor, Labor Spokesman for Workplace Relations, Jo-Anne Schofield, Nat. Sec of early childhood union United Voice and several educators.

“Educators have an enormous responsibility; they are literally shaping the future, one child at a time,” says Jo-anne Schofield, United Voice National Secretary.

“Yet those teaching and caring for our youngest children, childcare educators, are paid significantly less than educators in the primary and secondary sector.”

“Childcare educators are among the lowest paid professionals in Australia for one simple reason: This workforce is 95 per cent female and it’s still seen by some as just ‘women’s work’.”

“It’s a national disgrace that after 50 years since the principle of equal pay for equal work was first enshrined by our industrial court 80,000 educators are still being paid like it’s 1969.”

“A responsible government that values the future of our children would already have fixed this injustice. It is time to value our future. It is time to value every child and every educator.”

“Voters see childcare as a fundamental issue and are ready to punish the PM for his betrayal of families in the Federal Budget. A majority of voters also support equal pay for educators.”

“Today educators are launching our election campaign with a clear message for the Prime Minister: we want to know what you stand for? Do you stand for equal pay?”

“Over this election voters are going to see educators everywhere – we’re going to be in your communities, holding street stalls, asking for your support.”

“We’re working like teachers – but being paid like babysitters,” says Kerrie Devir, a 49 year-old Melbourne educator.

“There are more than 70,000 women working as childcare educators, for as little as $20 an hour. Can you imagine 70,000 men putting up with that – for even five minutes?”


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