Lismore City News
Saturday, 2 December 2023

Childcare workers strike for better working conditions

Cathy Adams
Updated September 12 2022 - 4:54pm, first published September 8 2022 - 11:14am

Early childcare workers provide a vital service during the formative years in a child's life, and they are fighting to have their place in the education system recognised.

'We don't just wipe bums and snotty noses': Childcare workers strike for better conditions
'We don't just wipe bums and snotty noses': Childcare workers strike for better conditions

Local childcare workers joined their colleagues across the country in taking strike action to highlight the issues facing workers.

They have three priorities - better pay, value early learning as part of the education system, and putting children before profit.

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Early childcare worker Praj King from Friends Childcare Centre said they just wanted better recognition for the service they provide the community, and for their pay to reflect that.

"We're not just educators, we clean, we cook, we counsel the families, we counsel the children. We do so much more than wipe bums and snotty noses," Ms King said.

She said their was a perception early childcare workers just come to work and play each day.

All of the workers gathered for the strike action said they provide an individualised curriculum for each child, report on their process, and are often the people who identify when a child needs some extra help.

They say there isn't enough time to do all of the paperwork or to meet all of the required regulations within their allocated hours, and the are not paid for the overtime.

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin threw her support behind childcare workers.

"They do some of the most important work in our community and economy," Ms Saffin said.

"They educate our young people at a most crucial part of their development. They are highly trained, highly skilled education professionals and deserve fair pay, manageable workloads and decent conditions at work."

Deb Marks from Friends Childcare Centre said the national stand down was organised because reform was needed in the childcare sector.

"We are not seen as part of the education system. To be valued, we need to be recognised as part of that education system, and we need to be paid equally to what other educators and teachers are paid," Ms MArks said.

"We need to make sure there is reform so childcare centres and preschools are not looking at profits over the children ... and are not just run as a business.

"If we were properly part of the education system, that wouldn't happen."

Cathy Adams

Cathy Adams

Journalist