United Voice ERO Case
The Roadmap to a decision for the United Voice members' Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) gathered momentum.
The case centres on the low industry wages and the discrimination of women in a sector that is dominated by female workers.
Nationally many ECEC members' submissions were been collected which will be used as evidence in the ERO case to reflect the valuable work of early childhood educators and support the validity that their work is just as important as that of educators of older children.
This case will continue through 2017.
Goodstart EBA 2016 finalised
Beginning of 2016 the organising work for the team focussed on a blitz of info sessions in 52 Goodstart centres to vote up the new Goodstart EBA.
Recruitment, Identifying leaders and engaging Educators in their BigStepsNow campaign 2016 were the focus.
A total of 115 new members and 6 new leaders have been recruited seeing a growth of 20% in Goodstart union membership.
A resounding 97% yes vote by Goodstart employees nationally have seen well deserved increases in pay and entitlements, such as, Goodstart becoming the first national ECEC employer to introduce a Domestic clause leave of 10 paid days and allowances in recognition of qualifications and positions worked in centres.
The blitz in Goodstart also included some regional sites such as Kalgoorlie and Geraldton and the South West. This saw some growth in new areas and developing solidarity in the campaign.
ECEC National Day of Action
Continuing into 2016, on Saturday 27/1/16 across the nation in all states United Voice ECEC members conducted home visits in designated marginal seats leading up to the next Federal election. The message was simple and well received "there is a growing demand in the sector for a responsible Government that delivers ongoing funding for Early Childhood years, including professional wages for thousands of educators."
G8: Building Power and Supporting Members
Site visits early in the year led to increasing membership and power in G8. Members are pursuing cases for Industrial breaches by collecting evidence of policies and practices, staff handbooks and new contracts that undermined sections of the Children Services award 2010.
Affinity: Every Child Counts Promise
A blitz on WA Affinity centres in July moved Educators to ask their employer, Affinity to sign-up to the Every Child Counts Promise. By making this promise Affinity would recognise that every stage of a child’s education is invaluable, which means so too is every educator. The Every Child Counts promise will support educators for professional recognition and stand with their educators calling on the Government to fund professional pay.
Delegates Convention: Launch of the Burgundy Wave
The Delegate Convention held on 17th June, 2016 saw over 270 delegates endorse the launch of United Voice WA branch Burgundy Wave political union movement.
Delegates joined in discussions with local ALP Federal Candidates, Anne Ali and Tammy Solonec as well as state shadow ministers from the ALP party, led by Mark McGowan. Many Delegates acknowledged the need to change government at both Federal and State levels and committed to support the BW campaign leading into both elections.
A lot of work was done in the lead up to the Federal Election held on 2nd July, 2016. The Federal Labor Party, led by Bill Shorten, announced early in their Election Campaign to commit to professional wages for educators in the sector. ECEC union members took to the streets across the nation with a political message to the Turnball Government leading up to Election Day:
“Where’s Malcolm on Equal pay?”
Many MP’s signed pledges to support professional wages for educators in the acknowledgement of their value in the education and development of children in Early Childhood Education and Care.
With the election outcome of Turnball’s Liberal Party regaining government, the campaign will saw Delegates from around Australia meeting up in Canberra, to lobby new politicians and plan the next stage of their campaign.
Crisis for WA Community Centre Funding
The WA Liberal State Government notified 33 Community based, not for profit services of their intention to withdraw support for services by June 2018. This is unsettling for educators and families alike.
For many services, this may mean closure. Our community based ECEC has always been a bench mark for quality.
The annual budget for the maintenance program is $1.4 million and is a drop in the ocean in relation to the current state debt. Why should the families and children of Western Australia suffer due to the economic mismanagement of this current Liberal government?
Services are lobbying government to reverse this decision and put the children and families of Western Australia first. On November 10th Community Centre members took a petition with over 2000 signatures to be tabled in State Parliament.
ECEC petition tabled in State Parliament
On November 10 2016, Members from Community Child Care Centres across the metropolitan area attended Parliament today to witness MLA Simone McGurk lodge a petition fighting the Barnett Government’s proposed funding cuts. The Petition saw 2500 signatures showing huge community support for reversing the cuts.
Leaders Meeting with Anne Aly MP
Leaders met and discussed the Bigsteps Campaign with Member for Cowan, Anne Aly. Anne supported the Wiggles action and came on as a WA Ambassador for the Campaign.
National Feminist and Gender Inequality Forum
On 18/11/16 two representatives from the WA ECEC Leader GROUP, Sally Whitaker and Lindsay Poggenpoel, attended the National Women’s Forum in Sydney where the main item for discussion was around the Gender Pay Gap. The ECEC Sector is a true reflection of this issue given its workforce is predominately professional women on low wages.
On Saturday19/11/16 United Voice ECEC members continued to ramp up support for the Community Centre Campaign via a Wiggles action outside Perth Arena. ECEC Leaders from both Community Centres and Goodstart centres spoke to hundreds of Parents and guardians of pre-school aged children around state funding cuts to Community Centres. Free stickers and glow in the dark wristbands were handed out creating a sea of vibrant colour in the audience at the Wiggles concert.
Setting a Plan with Simone McGurk
On Tuesday 29/11/16 United Voice hosted a meeting with Labor Shadow Minister Simone McGurk and 11 Community Centre representatives.
Simone spoke about the positive community response with the petition and the Barnett’s reluctance to change its funding decision. This highlighted for the group the importance of returning Labor to State Government in March 2017.
Many ECEC Community representatives expressed the uncertainty for their Centres and Families with the Government’s proposed cuts and agreed the pressure on State Government to reverse the decision needs to continue leading up to the State Election in March 2017.