Early Childhood In absolute agreement

  • By Max Grarock
  • This article was published more than 1 year ago.
  • 19 Mar 2023

Influence the patterns of EC work by getting involved in the development of your next benchmark agreements.

The process to create the next VECTEA/EEEA begins in the second half of this year. Becoming a campaign leader for those agreements is the most powerful way to support your benchmark agreements so that they are meaningful tools that build positive workplaces. Sign up today to help lead the campaign for fair and respectful working conditions.

The dizzying pace of reform in the sector can feel like it’s occurring without your input. The construction of the next benchmark agreements is your key opportunity to influence what the patterns of work look like in early childhood.

The embedding of three-year-old kindergarten, the building of new services, the growth to 30 hours of four-year-old kindergarten, and the need to bring new staff on board, will create huge pressure for you and your colleagues. With all this change occurring, these coming negotiations will lead to the most important early childhood agreements for a generation. Without respectful working conditions, the wonderful legacy of kindergarten in Victoria is in jeopardy.

Likely priorities for members will include ensuring that the maximum face-to-face teaching time does not go beyond the current 25.5 hours, pay keeps up with the school sector, and that pay levels recognise the true value of educators’ work.

We also need to ensure that time is available to plan a quality program, and creating a process to set limits on the work that employers can add to already full workloads.

Don’t let this opportunity to strengthen your working conditions pass you by.

Deciding on these priorities is not a matter for AEU staff or elected leaders – it is a role for all members. Beginning in Term 3, local meetings will allow members to add their concerns to the list of things they need changed. This becomes the log of claims presented to employers in December this year.

The government and employers will likely approach negotiations as they always do – by trying to get the most work out of you for the minimum cost. I expect that they will also attempt to grow their authority to make arbitrary change. Winning the kinds of outcomes you and your colleagues need in these agreements will require strong connections among members, and a readiness to take action that demonstrates your combined strength and resolve. Having campaign leaders across the state will make those connections effective and meaningful.

Campaign leaders will receive extensive training and support. They will coordinate local meetings to hear members speak about the log of claims, make sure their perspectives are incorporated during formulation of the agreement, and attend selected negotiation sessions with the AEU and the employer representatives.

Don’t worry, it’s not difficult – it’s about having conversations with members at nearby centres and using the connections you already have.

Don’t let this opportunity to strengthen your working conditions pass you by. To find out more about the process for creating the agreement and the role of the campaign leaders, attend a webinar – visit aeuvic.asn.au and search for VECTEA or EEEA on our Events and Training page.

To sign up to be a campaign leader, visit forms.office.com/r/CsQA7QhFyQ

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