Union wants 70pc pay rise for childcare workforce

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    THE childcare union is demanding pay rises of up to 70 per cent for 150,000 workers, comparing their skills to aircraft maintenance engineers, electrical contractors and CSIRO scientists.
    The United Voice union, in its 2015-16 budget submission, wants public funding for childcare doubled to $14.7 billion a year within a decade.
    It says taxpayers must pay for any wage rises for childcare workers flowing from an equal-pay case to be heard by the Fair Work Commission this year.
    The massive claim will undermine the Abbott government’s attempts to make childcare cheaper for families, in the face of spiralling fees.
    United Voice states that without extra public funding, “any claim for wages imposes additional costs on parents … only government can address the wage and workforce crisis in the sector and the emerging affordability crisis that parents face,’’ its submission states.
    “In light of growing community concerns about the increasing cost of childcare, a trade-off between affordability and wage justice is not fair on either workers or the parents who depend on affordable childcare.’’
    The union has asked the FWC to grant pay rises ranging from 39 per cent to 72 per cent, on the grounds that the female-dominated childcare workforce is paid less than men doing comparable jobs.
    If the union wins its case, wages for the lowest-paid support staff would jump from $34,060 to $47,343. Wages would soar 71 per cent, to $96,564, for a worker with an early childhood diploma and two years’ experience on the job.
    The union has sought a 72 per cent pay rise for daycare centre directors, to $106,496 a year.
    The FWC is scheduled to hear the case this year.
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