Early Childhood Valuing members’ expertise in early childhood

The three unions covering early childhood teachers and educators have continued to meet with employer representatives on a regular basis to negotiate a national agreement that values our members’ work through better wages and conditions. Members deserve an agreement that reflects their professionalism and expertise. Government representatives also joined negotiations for the second time on 23 February. 

All parties agree that this agreement needs to be finalised in a timely manner, with appropriate funding from the federal government to subsidise any wage increases. The unions and their members do not want to see service fees increase to cover the cost of the salaries. 

The VECTEA and EEEA log of claims was ratified by early childhood sector councillors on 8 December 2023. We served this log on employer representatives, the Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) and Municipal Association Victoria (MAV), in mid-February, with bargaining commencing in March. 

Early childhood members are seeking an enterprise agreement that would:

  • provide pay and conditions that properly recognise the value of their work and address gender pay equity issues
  • support the provision of quality education
  • advance the principles of equity and fairness
  • address work/life balance
  • recognise the role of the AEU and the importance of workplace democracy
  • support the work of leaders in workplaces.

The log of claims was developed by AEU members across Victoria. The AEU held over 50 log of claims meetings in regional centres small and large, and in all parts of metropolitan Melbourne, where members met to discuss their working conditions. 

All of the positions covered under the current agreements were represented at these meetings – preschool field officers, early years advisors, additional assistants, educators (Certificate III and diploma), teachers (including pre-service, graduate, and experienced teachers), First Nations teachers and educators, women, LGBTQIA+, and casual members all contributed. 

Members discussed the changes that they need in order to continue to deliver the kind of high-quality education to three- and four-year old children that will set them up for the best start and best life. 

Professional pay and good entitlements will support teachers and educators to continue this work, help to retain staff in the sector, and go a long way towards attracting the 11,000 new employees required for the early childhood workforce over the next decade. 

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