Early Childhood Making our benchmark agreements even better

Over Term 3 and Term 4 of 2023, the AEU held 50 meetings across the state with early childhood members to develop their log of claims for the next VECTEA and EEEA agreements. The final log of claims was unanimously endorsed by early childhood sector councillors on 8 December and was served upon the employer peak bodies Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) and the Municipal Association Victoria (MAV) in early February.

The log of claims shows that the top issues for early childhood members are: significant pay increases for educators; entitlements that address workload; and the removal of the capability assessment for teachers so they can achieve genuine pay parity with their teacher colleagues.

A big thank you to members for hosting and/or attending the log of claims meetings – your engagement and enthusiasm for the process has been fantastic. Not only were you clear about the challenges you are experiencing, importantly you also identified what you need in the next agreements to improve professional pay and conditions that address workload. 

The only way to address the workload crisis and to improve pay and conditions for teachers and educators is through bargaining and campaigns for better agreements. We look forward to starting negotiations in Term 1 to secure these improvements for teachers, educators, Preschool Field Officers, Early Years Advisors, and inclusion workers/additional assistants, reflective of their professional skills and expertise. Members are ready to step up, get active, and collectively fight for what they deserve. 

The sector’s benchmark agreements (VECTEA and EEEA) play a significant role in the attraction and retention of the early childhood workforce. This is more important than ever given the Best Start, Best Life reform and the expansion of kindergarten provision for all three and four-year-olds. Professional pay, good working conditions and improved entitlements will be key to meeting the need for 11,000 more teachers and educators within the coming decade. 

The ACECQA national workforce strategy identified the VECTEA and EEEA as having the best pay and conditions in the early childhood sector across the country. It is important that they remain the benchmark agreements, not just for Victoria but nationally. Thanks to members’ commitment, we are in a good position to achieve a positive outcome. But imagine what we could do if even more of those in the early childhood sector joined our campaign to address the issues you have raised! I urge you to keep having those invaluable conversations with your colleagues on the importance of joining the AEU. We have a big year ahead of us.

Invite your EC colleagues to join online here

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