Early Childhood The road to our new agreements

Negotiations for the two new sector agreements (VECTEA and EEEA) are due to begin, after a brief delay. Talks were recently postponed due to Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) lodging an application on 31 July with the Fair Work Commission (FWC). ELAA sought a clarification to the VECTEA Single Interest Application (SIA) Order, to ensure other employees such as cooks, cleaners and administrative staff are not scoped into the next VECTEA. The AEU supported this position.

FWC approved this clarification on 29 August and employers covered by the VECTEA have been issuing the Notice of Representational Rights (NERR) has been issued by your employer. You do not need to do anything apart from ensuring you are issued with a new NERR. Weekly meetings have been scheduled with ELAA and the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) during late August and September.

It is good news for members in the community sector that we can finally begin formal negotiations for the new VECTEA. Members in the local government sector will be pleased to know that we have been formally bargaining with MAV on the new EEEA since May.

Underpinning our talks to date with ELAA and MAV has been a clearly articulated log of claims, which we formulated after extensive consultation with members. Our three top three issues for the log of claim are pay parity for teachers with school teachers, significant increase in educator salaries and addressing workload, including educational leader, nominated supervisor and work undertaken outside of paid hours.

Agreement outcomes are never handed to us by government of the day; they are typically hard fought for and won by the AEU and our members.

We currently have a state government that is investing significantly into early years education and who cite, recognise and acknowledge the research on the importance and value of high-quality early years education.

With the need for 4000 teachers and 2000 educators over the next 10 years the government needs a workforce to deliver their early childhood reform agenda. We know the best way to attract and retain teachers and educators is through salary and conditions.

Collectively we need to start engaging in conversations with our colleagues and families to make them aware of the current negotiations, inform them about our claims and share stories as to why these issues are important to you and the profession.

Our thinking also needs to turn to ‘what will I do if the time comes to have to stand up and fight for these issues?’ Agreement outcomes are never handed to us by government of the day; they are typically hard fought for and won by the AEU and our members.

It is fee-paying members who enable us to do this important work, and help us campaign where necessary. Now is a good time to talk about union membership with your non-member colleagues, and ask them to join the collective effort for better pay and conditions. Please direct them to the join page on our website.

My colleagues and I have started visiting services, networks and regions to meet members and potential members to discuss the negotiations. We would be happy to organise a meeting with you and your colleagues or arrange a visit to your centre. Please contact my colleague Tiffany and she will work with you to co-ordinate a time and place.

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