Branxton Preschool among Hunter early learning centres to strike for better pay

Branxton Preschool early childhood educators will take industrial action on Thursday, as part of a nationwide effort to boost conditions for employees in the industry. Preschool director Natalie Caslick with William Franklin (back row), Lachlan Milgate, Ella Hepplewhite, Harry White and Emily Tickner. Picture: Supplied
Branxton Preschool early childhood educators will take industrial action on Thursday, as part of a nationwide effort to boost conditions for employees in the industry. Preschool director Natalie Caslick with William Franklin (back row), Lachlan Milgate, Ella Hepplewhite, Harry White and Emily Tickner. Picture: Supplied

Preschools and early learning centres are missing out on attracting “high quality educators” because wages in the profession are so low, a veteran of the industry says.

Early childhood educators across the nation will walk off the job on Thursday afternoon as part of their fight for better pay.

Hunter parents are being urged to check with their child’s preschool or daycare centre whether the stop work meeting will affect them.

Branxton Preschool director Natalie Caslick, who has been in the industry for 25 years, said the low award for early childhood educators had serious consequences.

Ms Caslick said her staff would finish at 3pm on Thursday – 45 minutes earlier than normal – but the preschool had organised early pick-ups for the children. A rally will be held at Turner Park, Cessnock, at 4pm.

She said parents had been supportive of the action.

“I’ve watched some really high-quality, valuable educators leave this profession because of the wages,” Ms Caslick said.

“The government has ignored the fact that some of these [employees] get paid $21 an hour.

“[The government is] reducing fees and helping families in that way, which is awesome, but I think it’s about time that they looked at the pay they give to these ladies who work in this industry – the majority of them are female.”

It’s unclear how many preschools and early learning centres across the Hunter will be affected by the strike on Thursday.