Statement of support for early educators taking strike action

The NSW Teachers Federation extends solidarity to United Voice in its campaign to achieve equal pay in the female-dominated childcare sector.

Today, more than 1000 early childhood educators are expected to strike from 3.20pm, which represents the time women in Australia effectively start working for free because of the persistent gender pay imbalance.

Striking on International Women’s Day aims to draw attention to the large pay gap between male and female dominated professions.

United Voice says that despite the vital importance of their work educating Australia’s children many early childhood educators earn just $20 an hour — half the average national wage.

Federation President Maurie Mulheron said: “Federation’s support for the United Voice early educators’ action today is also consistent with the AEU national campaign to secure permanent Federal funding for the 15 hours a week of preschool that our children need. As a nation, we must invest in early learning and we must invest in early childhood educators.”

United Voice assistant national secretary Helen Gibbons said educators were walking off the job on International Women’s Day to tell Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull it’s time he valued their work by funding equal pay for educators.

“This problem should have been fixed decades ago and yet educators’ wages don’t come near reflecting their professional skills and responsibilities.

“Low pay in this sector is directly related to the fact that 97% of educators are female, making it one of the most feminised workforces in the country.

“In 2017 paying women less than men is not on,” she said.