Daycare strike chaos looms for thousands
NSW risks grinding to halt on Tuesday as thousands of families scramble to arrange care for their children while childcare workers strike for better pay.
An "unprecedented" number of the state's 5000 childcare centres are expected to close, with parents asked to make other arrangements.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham condemned the unions behind the campaign, saying the largely female workforce was being "used" by the union and given "bad advice".
Workers want an average 30 per cent increase, rising to 72 per cent in some cases, after losing a controversial Fair Work Commission test case in which they sought to be paid as much as male-dominated industries such as manufacturing.
United Voice, which funded an ad campaign urging parents to back the strike, refused to say how many centres will close or how many parents will be affected.
It is promoting the strike as Keep Your Children Home Day.
It's the third time in a year early childhood staff have gone on strike, with union boss Helen Gibbons promising it would be the "biggest day of action in history".
The union said affected parents have been told if their centre is earmarked for shutdown.
Mr Birmingham said many childcare centres already pay workers above the award.
"I have enormous respect for early learning and childcare workers and the work they do, but they're being used by their unions and given bad advice," he said.
Mr Birmingham said the unions' case had been dismissed by "the independent umpire" under laws written by the last Labor government but they were ignoring the verdict.
About 91 per cent of childcare workers are women.
In their test case, the unions also argued that children's services had "changed over time from the notion of child minding or childcare to one of early child development, learning, care and education" and they deserved more pay.