MEDIA RELEASE Melbourne Educators could be abandoned without pay

Today Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that as of Thursday, early childhood services in Melbourne will close, except for children of essential workers and vulnerable children.

Workers in early childhood education have already lost access to JobKeeper, meaning tens of thousands of educators working in federally-funded long day care services across Melbourne are facing today’s announcement with no guarantee of income for at least the next 6 weeks.

Early education was the first sector the Morrison Government kicked off JobKeeper. The current 25% transition payment to centres is not enough to cover the loss of income in a Stage 4 lockdown. This leaves tens of thousands of Melbourne educators at risk of being stood down without pay.

United Workers Union is calling on the State and Federal Governments to immediately guarantee early childhood educators’ wages. These essential workers must be provided the same safety net offered to workers in other parts of the economy.

United Workers Union Early Childhood Education and Care Director Helen Gibbons said: “This is a completely unacceptable position to leave early childhood educators in: with no idea if they will be able to provide for themselves and their families next week.

“Throughout this period of uncertainty, educators have kept coming to work every day to provide support for children and families. They’ve done this at great personal risk to themselves and their own loved ones. Instead of recognising and valuing their contribution, last month the Federal Government singled out early education as the only sector to lose the wage support of JobKeeper.

“The sweeping changes announced today in Victoria have exposed the true foolhardiness of cutting JobKeeper for early education. This appalling experiment has put the livelihoods of tens of thousands of dedicated educators at risk.

“Educators have been doing the right thing by children, families and the community throughout this crisis.

“It’s time for the Government to do the right thing by educators. When Melbourne is ready to go back to work, we need early educators ready to support families and the education of the youngest members of our community.

“The Federal and Victorian State Governments must immediately guarantee that educators will not lose wages during the Stage 4 lockdown.”