An estimated 7000 childcare workers took industrial action by walking off the job around Australia on September 5 to demand equal pay.
The childcare workers’ strike on International Women’s Day caused me to reflect on the long journey towards equal pay and my personal experience over 50 years of my working life.
My first job as a student was as a conductor on Sydney buses from 1964 to 1966. Bus conductors and teachers were the only jobs that paid women the same rates as men, because there were “manpower” shortages in these industries. However, it was not until late 1966 that women conductors could be promoted to drivers.
On September 8 about 100 childcare workers stopped work across Melbourne to call for equal pay and recognition for their work.
A number of childcare centres, including Dawson St Child Care Co-operative, Monash Community Family Co-operative, Monash Children’s Centre, Monash Caulfied Childcare Centre and East Brunswick Kindergarten and Childcare Centre, closed at 3pm, affecting about 500 children.