UWU: It’s the sound that quirky anime characters say when they receive their favourite strawberry cake. However, more importantly, it also stands for the United Workers Union. These folks currently represent over 150,000 different workers all across Australia. This includes folks in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector. These workers make up the subgroup Big Steps and have recently announced that they’re holding a strike.
Why Are Early Childhood Education Workers Striking?
Big Steps is concerned because educators are bouncing from this sector in record numbers. This is because these individuals are underpaid, overworked, and would otherwise burnout. These negative factors have led to centres limiting enrolments, closing classes, cancelling staff leave, and this toxic cycle continuing. Thus, these workers want to end this turmoil before their situation further deteriorates.
As Helen Gibbons, the Director of Early Education at UWU, stated, “Educators are sick of being stuck. After nearly a decade of inaction the new Federal Government needs to commit to an urgent plan to fix the early education sector.”
What Do Early Childhood Education Workers Want?
UWU currently has three major demands for the Federal Government. They want:
- A reason to stay, and salaries that are reflective of their worth.
- To be of equal value as the school systems.
- For the children that they work with to be put before profit.
These folks want a timeline from the government that demonstrates that our politicians are planning on actioning these requests. “UWU members’ vision is for a sector where educators’ vital work is valued with professional wages and working conditions, and where early education is recognised for its vital role in children’s development,” noted Gibbons.
When Is the Early Childhood Education Strike Happening?
It’s taking place on Early Childhood Educators Day, which is September 7. So, if you have a kid in this system, you might want to take that day off. You know, if that’s feasible. Maybe even take them to a protest. After all, it’s never too early to learn the power that collective action can have.