The Guardian 18 May, 2005

Child care workers’ wage rise

A child care worker with more than 10 years experience will finally receive a wage on par with her shop assistant daughter thanks to a union win in Victoria and the ACT. And the child care union, the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union (LHMU) is already preparing to rein in employers using the rises as an excuse to unfairly increase fees.

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission last week approved pay rises of between $6 and $146 per week for around 15,000 childcare workers, whose current qualified pay rate is just $14 an hour.

LHMU assistant national secretary, Joanne Schofield, said the increases should cost parents a maximum of $2 extra per child per day but warned families to be on guard for centres attempting to cash in.

“The rises should not cost more than the $2 figure, including the cost of the living wage increase, but we have even seen fees going up in states where no pay rises have even been granted.”

The union will establish a Fee Watch facility on the LHMU website to expose unscrupulous child care centre operators who hit parents up for more.

Ms Schofield said the pay rise was made possible by the involvement of child care workers who had waged a three year grassroots campaign and actively participated in the wage case. She also thanked parents for their support.

“It had got to the stage where employees were only staying at work because of their passion for the industry. Meanwhile their families were suffering as a result of the low wages.

“It puts it in perspective that one woman with more than 10 years experience was earning less than her daughter who had just started out in retail.

“Finally child care workers have achieved professional recognition for their work and will no longer be made to subsidise this important community service.”

The increase is payable from July 1, with applications also filed in Qld, NSW and SA.

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