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English Oral 2018
Terms in this set (14)
They are qualified, they are committed, they are experienced and yet they can be paid as little as $21 an hour. Who are they? You must be wondering. These people are the early child educators of our future generations within Australia.
Good morning panel my name is Bianca Saxon and today I am arguing that childcare workers in Australia are being disadvantaged by their unfair wages.
On September 5th of this year thousands of childcare workers across Australia walked off the job at 4:00 pm on a Wednesday as this is when childcare staff effectively start working for free when their pay is compared to the average salary. This affected 40,000 parents across Australia. The walk off was decided after 95% of educators voted for national sector wide walks off in response to what they say is inaction on behalf of the Federal Government.
On the day of this strike at least 7,000 educators in each state and territory walked off the job which is double the amount of educators compared to the strike last year on September 7th. These educators are striking for the fourth time in the last 18 months as they want the Fair Work Commission to agree to a 35% pay increase and for the federal government to cover the difference.
To begin with, if the pay of childcare educators continues to be as little as $22 an hour we will continue to gradually lose roughly 180 educators from the childcare industry per week that's right per week. What will happen to our future generations of people the ones who will become our future doctors or even a future teacher like yourself? The education that takes part in a childcare centre is significant. Did you know 90% of brain development occurs during the first five years of a child's life?
I am currently doing my Certificate III in early childhood education at the Gordon and over the school holidays was fortunate enough to do my 70 hours of placement at a centre. Working closely with the educators and the children I got a deeper understanding of why this push for greater pay was so extremely powerful and important. There's a misunderstanding about the nature of early educators work in Australia. The media often speaks about childcare like it is a babysitting service, not an investment in education.
I often think about my 17 and 18 year old friends who babysit on weekends for their neighbours or family friends with no certificate, no degree in early childhood education and yet they get paid $16-$20 without even educating the children they are simply just looking after and babysitting them. I don't know about you but this just doesn't sit right with me they are earning just a little less than these early childhood educators.
On top of that as I mentioned before on average 180 people leave the child care and long day care industries each week as they can no longer afford the cost of living and low wages. An educator Lauren Fletcher spoke about her own experience as a mother of three children with two mortgages and she credits her husband's full-time job for keeping her young family above water. It seems ludicrous that parents pay such high fees to put their children in childcare when early educators aren't getting paid accordingly.
In addition to this early childhood educators can spend anywhere between 18 weeks and four years studying to work in this industry. The educators come in with their qualifications and work incredibly hard in really responsible jobs and do absolutely amazing jobs for Australian children and yet when it comes to having their own families or buying their own home they just can't do it on that salary. A bachelor of early childhood education receives half the amount then the average Australian salary.
The United Voice Union assistant national secretary Helen Gibbons wants the Federal Government to fund the sector properly, so wages can increase from the current level of around $21 per hour. The educators of Australia want the government to think about this deeply and that why they all decided to walk off the job was to show Malcom Turnbull that they won't be treated like doormats anymore. "Prime Minister, love does not pay the bills, it does not pay your mortgage nor your energy bills"
However I do recognise that an increase in wages for early childhood educators may put a strain on some families, but this strain is nothing compared to the strain child care workers feel because of their ridiculously low pay rates.
And lastly educating kids for eight hours a day as well as tending to their eating, sleeping and nappy needs is extremely demanding work. That can't be worth more than $21 an hour, surely? Proper child care is skilled labour. You need a qualification to do it and its costs money to get that qualification
If the wages in childcare don't improve the sector is going to lose highly trained staff to other industries. In this day and age in 2017, it's just not okay to undervalue the work an early educator does. We want to keep our staff and unfortunately some of them of them can't stay afloat with the less than minimum wage. And the union has vowed to keep escalating the fight until they win better pay.
I am begging of you as an individual to think about our future. Think about your future children my future children the generations yet to come. We need passionate, cheerful and admiring early childhood educators coming into this industry without having to think about their appalling pay they will receive. Together we can make a stand for their rights and fight for what they truly do deserve. Thank you
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