Thousands of childcare workers are taking part in the biggest strikes in Australian history today.
From 3:20pm this afternoon staff will walk off the job, fighting for a better wage deal and an end to the gender pay gap. This is the second major protest by workers this year and starting the strike at 3:20pm represents the time staff start working for free everyday.
Dozens of centres are affected in most states across the country and parents were reportedly notified weeks ago about the disruptions. At least 10,000 families have been asked to make other arrangements.
One of the unions representing childcare workers, United Voice, said early educators can't afford to live on the average $21 an hour that they're paid.
"Educators are frustrated at the lack of action from this government. It's 2017 and it's just outrageous that educators earn as little as $21 an hour, despite their high levels of qualification," said Assistant Secretary Helen Gibbons.
"It's one of Australia's most poorly paid professions, but educators are only paid half the average wage. Equal pay needs to be a national priority, in 2017 paying women less than men is not acceptable."
At rallies across the country during today's walk off, educators will vote on the next step to be taken in escalating their action.