Low-paid workers in the childcare sector have had a tremendous victory after a long and arduous community campaign, the LHMU Child Care Union said today

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) announcement late yesterday of wage increases will deliver a minimum increase of $64.50 per week for a qualified childcare worker and a minimum of $82.20 per week for a diploma certified childcare professional in Victoria and the ACT.

For the 18,000 childcare workers in Victoria and the ACT this is long
overdue, LHMU Childcare Union National Secretary, Jeff Lawrence, said.

Get an
application for to join the LHMU Child Care Union

Commission’s comments on child care work

Handing down the decision the Commission noted that:

” the quality of care, and hence outcomes for children, is positively related
to the level of the qualifications of the staff working with children.

Commenting on the crisis in attracting people to this important industry the
decision said:

” We have found that limited career path options and low pay have contributed
to the current recruitment and retention problems …. the shortage of qualified
staff has the potential to jeopardise the future of quality child care in

Childcare work is demanding, stressful and intrinsically important to the
public interest.”

First step in a national campaign

There are more than 80,000 people working in childcare across Australia –
this decision will be a first step in winning pay justice for all workers in
this important industry, the LHMU Childcare Union said.

Jeff Lawrence said the LHMU Childcare union has similar pay claims in other
states. ” We will be pursuing organising campaigns with our union members in
these states,” Jeff Lawrence said.

Two year long campaign brings historic result

LHMU Childcare Union members in Victoria and the ACT have been waiting for
more than two years for this historic announcement.

” This is a credit to the childcare union members who have organised
centre-by-centre, worker-by-worker, parent-by-parent, to get widespread
community support for this pay increase,” Jeff Lawrence said.

” We know the community recognizes the professional standards, high skills
and dedication our members bring to their work – now they will be rewarded
appropriately for their commitment.”

Howard Govt must ensure parents don’t pay out of their
own pockets

Mr Lawrence warned that the Howard Government will have to help fund this pay
increase so as to ensure parents don’t pay for this out of their own pockets.

The LHMU Child Care Union said parents should not have to shoulder the burden
of paying these historic child care wage increases announced by the Australian
Industrial Relations Commission.

” We don’t believe childcare centres should be priced out of the reach of
hard-working Australian families. John Howard can ensure that childcare places
are accessible by putting in the funding for these wage increases.

Regulate how childcare corporates use new monies

” However any new funding should be tightly regulated to ensure that the

corporate sector does not misuse these funds,” Jeff Lawrence said.

” The community does not believe that funds for childcare workers should end
up in the “profits” column of the childcare corporates annual accounts, rather
than the accountants column reading ” childcare workers wages”.

When Dianne Terrance first got behind this campaign she
didn’t think it would take this long

Dianne Terrance who works at the Spence Children’s Cottage childcare centre
in Canberra said she first got behind this campaign in nearly three years ago
because she wanted the public to better understand the job of child care

” I didn’t believe then it would take us more than two years to get a result.
We had to convince a lot of people to join the union and get behind this

” But I still reckon if there were more men working in childcare centres it
would never have taken more than two years to win this pay increase,” Dianne
Terrance said.

Now we can attract back qualified childcare workers

” Childcare centres across Canberra have been complaining for a long while
about the shortages of qualified workers in this important industry,” Dianne
Terrance said.

” No wonder there were shortages when we expected good people to work for
about $15 an hour taking care of our children. This pay win will allow us to
attract back to the industry qualified childcare workers who can set our kids
onto the right education path.

” At the time when our campaign started I found it hard to believe we could
eventually win.

” It was difficult to get people enthusiastic and keep their motivation up –
many were concerned that a push for a wage increase might hurt the children and
the parents.”

Get More Childcare