Childcare workers take step forward in pay talks

Childcare workers take step forward in pay talks

Childcare workers pursuing a pay rise of up to 25 percent have taken a step forward, as the Fair Work Commission clears the path for a new kind of pay negotiation to begin.

It could provide a significant boost in wages for a sector where both unions and employer groups believe a significant boost in wages is urgently needed.

The commission has signed off on unions and employers negotiating a new pay deal through a'multi-employer bargaining' process, which was the first time the new industrial relations laws have been put to use.

It lets workers in the same industry, but spread across multiple employers, to broker pay deals as a group.

These negotiations will see 64 centres employing 12,000 people and there are hopes that if it is successful, it could offer a model to roll out more widely across the industry.

The employer groups that participate in the negotiations are generally favorable of a pay hike, saying it is essential to attract more employees and address long-standing staff shortages.

A key point would be securing federal government funding for increased wages, said Paul Mondo, Australia's Childcare Alliance, which represents a number of early childhood education centres.

Mr Mondo said he was disappointed that there was no sign of a rift in the armed forces.

The unions involved in the negotiations have been pushing the government to fund a 25 percent pay hike since earlier this year.

The United Workers Union's Sarah Gardner said a pay hike of that scale was absolutely necessary.