The long-running pay equity case before Fair Work Australia claiming early childhood educators are underpaid due to gender has been dismissed.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the full bench of Fair Work dismisses the case on Tuesday, and claimed that the unions involved – United Voice and the Australian Education Union – did not present enough evidence that educators are underpaid due to the sector being overwhelmingly female.
“By deciding to eschew the need for evidence and have the matter determined … ‘on the papers’, the applicant unions have necessarily fallen short in attempting to satisfy the jurisdictional prerequisite for the making of an equal remuneration order,” the bench was reported as stating.
United Voice Assistant Secretary Helen Gibbons said: “Our members have over the past five years done everything possible to try and resolve this equal pay issue.
“We have jumped through every legal hoop required and we briefed one of the best legal teams in the country. What this shows is that the system is not fit for purpose to deliver equal pay in the 21st century.”
United Voice have used the decision to continue to apply pressure on the Federal Government, saying in a statement: “Early educators are qualified, trusted and have a huge responsibility caring for and educating the very youngest members of our community. Yet they can be paid as little as $21 an hour.
“A responsible government would have already stepped in and fixed this appalling inequity. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister Birmingham have consistently passed the buck. This government has no real plan to deliver equal pay for Australia’s early educators.”
United Voice have launched a campaign for centres to close on March 27 to highlight the low wages of educators.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available.