The NSW Greens are standing in support of the nation’s early childhood workers as they take strike action for fair pay from 3.20pm today [7 September].

Early childhood educators and child care workers in NSW and across the country are paid significantly less than primary and secondary teachers, and as much as $30k less than the average annual wage.

At the same time as workers walk off the job, NSW Greens Early Childhood Education spokesperson Justin Field will grill NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on what actions the NSW Government will take to support fair pay for educators in the sector.

“The Greens stand with early childhood workers in asking for recognition of the valuable work they do educating children and supporting families, and shaping our future society,” he said.

“Early learning is the foundation for happy and productive adult lives and a good society.

“For too long, our skilled early childhood workers have not received the respect or financial recognition they deserve for their valuable and essential work. Women make up more than 97% of the workforce, which has contributed to the ongoing gender pay gap in Australia.

“As a parent with a child currently in care, I can speak of my personal gratitude for the tireless work of the carers and educator working  in this sector who are helping to give our children the best start in life and enabling parents to continue to pursue careers and support their families.

“But gratitude alone won’t pay the bills.

“It’s not acceptable that in 2017 a skilled, tertiary educated early childhood worker is forced to get by on $21 an hour.

“This is significantly less than what we pay secondary and tertiary education teachers, and it falls far short of what’s needed for workers to provide a comfortable life for their own families.

“The Greens support the fair pay claim of the union but reform of the sector is needed to support fair pay and universal access to quality early childhood education,” Mr Field said.