Victorian preschool teachers and co-educators will receive a long-awaited pay rise, delivering pay parity with school teachers, in a landmark Heads of Agreement signed on Wednesday.
Importantly co-educators will also be better recognised for their important contribution to preschool programs.
Announcing the new pay and conditions deal today, the AEU Victorian branch deputy president Justin Mullaly said the bargaining process had stretched over two years, with the outcome a win for preschool teachers, co-educators, families, service providers and the broader Victorian community.
"Providing pay parity with school teachers will help to attract and retain a quality workforce to deliver our children's early education," said Mr Mullaly.
"Early childhood teachers and co-educators play a critical role in our education system, setting children up to thrive in later learning, and this agreement recognises the significance of their role."
The Heads of Agreement outlines the critical elements that will be included in the industrial agreements covering Victorian preschools, which will be finalised by the AEU and the two preschool employer organisations.
Mr Mullaly said the agreement also includes a mechanism to regulate workload of preschool teachers and promote work-life balance, and locks-in 50 days of leave for co-educators.
"Teachers are teachers, whether they are teaching preschool or school students their pay and conditions should reflect their qualifications.
"After a long and arduous process, preschool teachers, co-educators, and families with young children will welcome an agreement that respects the profession and the important role they play in Victoria's future.
"Preschool teachers and co-educators were being hung out to dry by the previous State Government and we're pleased the Andrews Government has come to the table and played a key role in facilitating these discussions to get a fair and reasonable deal across the line," said Mr Mullaly.