The Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch, which represents early childhood education and care (ECEC) teachers in NSW and the ACT, is lodging an application before the Fair Work Commission to allow supported bargaining for an enterprise agreement with a block of long day care employers in NSW.
From 6th June, the Secure Work Better Jobs Act reforms make it easier for unions to bargain for enterprise agreements with groups of employers. The IEU, along with the United Workers Union (UWU), which represents ECEC educators in NSW, and the Australian Education Union (AEU), which represents ECEC teachers in Victoria, are jointly lodging the application.
A group of over 20 ECEC employers in NSW has agreed to be part of the application. As it is supported bargaining, the funding body, which is the Federal Government in this case, will also be a party to discussions. Mark Northam, Secretary of the Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch, said the new legislation paved the way to address long-term inequity in the ECEC sector.
“The ECEC sector plays a crucial role in the education of our young citizens, and improved recognition of their value and professionalism is long overdue,” Northam said. “However, four-year university trained ECEC teachers in some long day care centres are only paid modern award rates.
“This means they could be earning $30,000 a year less than school teachers with the same qualifications.”
The 60 employers participating in this application nationally want to pursue an enterprise agreement under the new supported bargaining stream.