||Issue No. 185||04 July 2003|
A Recipe for Conflict
Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
Industrial: Just Doing It
Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Bad Boss: In the Pooh
Unions: National Focus
Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Technology: Dean for President
International: Rangoon Rumble
Education: Blackboard Jungle
Review: From Weakness to Strength
The Locker Room
After the Accident
Cuba - the Debate Continues
Greetings from Japan
Aussie Workers Cradle-Snatched
By Carly Knowles
Over 40,000 people left Australian shores for good last year, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward told an ACTU forum on childcare this week. She warns this figure is going to increase, due to the expected global downturn in the labour force in 2005-07.
As the baby boomers retire and the labour force shrinks, "workers will become extremely sought after commodities and companies will be forced to create and offer workplaces that are both attractive and responsive to employees' needs."
According to ACTU President Sharan Burrows, The finding that 174,500 Australian children missed out on childcare last year shows that childcare is a need not being met for Australian families.
Jo-anne Schofield, the LHMU's National Assistant Secretary says this is because "there are just not enough trained child care professionals."
The LHMU is calling for a significant increase to the award so that workers will be attracted to the profession and to "properly recompense this important group of workers".
Lowenna Dunkerley, who is soon to complete her diploma in childcare, is considering retraining as a teacher because "it pays better and has better holidays". She's not keen on up to three years more study at university, but she thinks it's probably worth it.
"The pay sucks. Everyone thinks so", she says. "It's really hard work. You're full on for nine hours a day, you're responsible for between five and 10 children, you change nappies and have to keep a constant eye on them."
Schofield says, "Unfortunately there is plenty of evidence that people qualify to work in the child care sector but never work as carers because of the low wages".
"Child care centres are crying out for appropriately trained workers but these workers are nowhere to be found. We can only expand child care services if we are prepared to train and properly pay all the workers needed in these centres."
Goward says childcare services are essential if we want to keep Australian workers in Australia. She says "The question is not what will it cost, it's what will happen if we don't have it.
"Companies or indeed countries that persist in not performing for working parents will do so at their peril".
According to ACTU figures, Australia's government expenditure on childcare is 0.1 per cent of GDP, ranking 26th out of 28 OECD countries. The highest expenditure is in Denmark where 2.1 per cent of GDP is spent with the OECD average at 0.6 per cent.
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