After years of lobbying, we are finally seeing firm commitments to early childhood education, particularly here in Victoria, with the move to universal access to both three and four-year-old programs.
Governments can make these commitments, but it is you – early childhood teachers and educators – who are central to the success of these types of initiatives. Achieving a quality early childhood agenda is impossible without the right conditions to attract and retain staff. You must be provided with decent, fair and reasonable salaries and working conditions.
Now is the time to stand up and be counted to deliver the agreement your sector deserves.
The early childhood sector has not had a pay rise since August 2018, meaning parity with school teachers is slipping. Workload pressures are also becoming more significant in the sector and we must find ways to address those by giving staff time to complete the array of tasks they have to do within working hours.
We recognise that there is good will from the parties (the MAV and ELAA) to try to resolve these matters, but good will alone does not always deliver.
AEU members in the early childhood sector have a strong history of standing up to protect or improve your conditions of work and salaries. We need all members to get behind the campaign.
Talk to your colleagues, ask non-members to join, come along to network meetings, get involved on our social media pages and be ready to participate in a protected action ballot if negotiations stall.
You may be a smaller workforce, but you have collective power. Strength in numbers is vital; this is what will ultimately deliver the agreements you deserve. Now is the time to stand up and be counted, to work as one with your AEU colleagues.
I know our early childhood members will rise to the occasion – and you will have 48,000 AEU members behind you.