‘Leave kids in ABC centres’, urges union

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‘Leave kids in ABC centres’, urges union

The childcare union has urged parents to continue to take their children to ABC centres to help stave off closures, now that the company is in receivership.

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The childcare union has urged parents to continue to take their children to ABC centres to help stave off closures, now that the company is in receivership.
 
The Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union (LHMU) met on Monday with receiver McGrathNicol to discuss the future of the childcare company that operates about 1200 centres around Australia, staffed by more than 12,000 people.
 
The banks appointed receivers last week and the government has now stepped in with a short-term rescue package of $22 million to operate the centres until 31 December.
 
More information needed
 
LHMU national secretary Louise Tarrant said the meetings went well, but more information was needed before critical decisions on the future of the childcare centres were made before the end of the year.
 
‘Our meeting with McGrathNicol was constructive,’ said Louise Tarrant, LHMU national secretary.
 
‘We impressed upon the Receiver that parents and staff are looking to ABC childcare centres to remain open.'
 
Credible process
 
‘Uncertainty about the viability of 40% of centres casts doubt about the future of all the centres. That’s why it is critical that we quickly establish a credible process for assessing the long-term future of all centres.'
 
‘Parents and workers need a speedy resolution to the uncertainty surrounding the future of the centres.’
 
Tarrant said the union has undertaken to have ongoing communication with the Receiver, including on the critical issue of workers’ entitlements.
 
‘In the meantime we are continuing to contact ABC workers so that we can confirm the situation across the country,’ she said. ‘This is a difficult time and it's important that workers are heard, not just the big banks and creditors.’
 
Don’t panic
 
Tarrant urged parents who have children at an ABC centre not to panic.
 
‘Ideally, we'd be trying to be able to say to parents “stay with these centres, keep them viable, keep the operation in the centres alive in your communities”,’ she said.
 
She said there were many areas with an ‘undersupply’ of child care.
 
The Federal Government will discuss the future of the ABC Learning child care centres with industry representatives today.
 
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