Fighting on two fronts: Pushing for better deals for Goodstart and KU teachers

The IEU is negotiating for teachers who are employed by Goodstart and KU.


On 28 February, the IEU, along with delegates from two other unions, travelled to Canberra to meet with federal ministers and other politicians in support of better pay and conditions for teachers at Goodstart Early Learning centres.

The IEU is calling for any government-funded pay increases that come from the multi-employer Supported Bargaining Agreement to be passed on to teachers at Goodstart long day care centres.

IEU organiser Kate Damo and industrial officer Verena Heron, together with IEU member Kylie Clewett and representatives from Goodstart Early Learning met with Minister for Early Childhood Anne Aly and Education Minister Jason Clare about the need for professional recognition for early childhood professionals through a pay rise.

Teachers and educators also had the opportunity to share their stories with Labor politicians Sally Sitou MP (Member for Reid), Lisa Chesters MP (Member for Bendigo), Senator Jess Walsh (Victoria), Senator Karen Grogan (South Australia) and Patrick Gorman MP (Member for Perth). Patrick Gorman shared that his mother is a dedicated early childhood teacher who recently won a lifetime commitment award from Early Childhood Australia.

IEU member Kylie shared her personal story and advocated for teachers to be recognised as professionals who deserve to be paid as professionals. Kylie emphasised that the sector is expriencing a staffing crisis and we need to act collectively and urgently for change. Kylie encouraged all early childhood teachers and educators to be brave and speak up for change now.

Education Minister Jason Clare listened to our concerns and demonstrated an understanding of the staffing crisis in the early childhood education and care sector.

We look forward to the outcomes of the Supported Bargaining Agreement and we’re hopeful of some positive news for the sector in the May federal budget. Goodstart has said it will not commit to wage increases until the outcomes of this agreement are known.

As the largest not-for-profit early learning provider, Goodstart has a big impact on the sector. Goodstart recently needed to shutter some of their rooms due to staff shortages. A meaningful pay increase could go a long way to attracting and retaining teachers, Damo says.

Meeting with Education Minister Jason Clare
Goodstart early childhood teacher Kylie with IEU representatives Kate and Verena
IEU member Kylie with Kate and Verena
Meeting with Early Childhood Minister Anne Aly and Andrew Charlton MP.


Meanwhile, negotiations continue for better pay and conditions at KU Children’s Services.

IEU organisers Lisa James and Kate Damo met with KU representatives on 21 February.

The current offer, which was rejected by 90% of members who provided feedback, falls short in critical areas, including administration time for directors and time for Educational Leaders to fulfill their duties, such as renewing the centre program and mentoring other teachers and educators. As it stands, Educational Leaders are not allocated any time at KU centres.

Members at KU centres tell us they are regularly working 10-20 hours of unpaid overtime per week, James says. The union is calling for a minimum of four hours per week for Educational Leaders and at least two days of non-contact time per week for directors.

Representatives from KU say they are listening to members’ concerns. Another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 6 March and the union will continue to fight for a better deal for KU teachers.

Read the KU Bargaining Update (23 February 2024)

This update is part of the February 2024 edition of Teachers r Teachers enewsletter. Teachers r Teachers is distributed to early childhood teachers, long day care centres and preschools three times per year. You can read past editions of Teachers r Teachers on our enews homepage or stay across all our updates for early childhood teachers on our ECEC page or via our Facebook community group for members only.