17th December 2008
ABC Staff Need Assurances For The Future
The country's largest early childhood union says ABC's childcare centres must be sold as a going concern, and should not be sold off individually.
ABC Developmental Learning Centres, which is a subsidiary of the financially troubled ABC Learning in Australia, owns 127 centres in New Zealand as well as the New Zealand College of Early Childhood Education in Christchurch. Australian receivers are now calling for expressions of interest in the New Zealand business from potential buyers.
ABC has sent a letter to parents saying it does not envisage any centres being closed as a result of the sale notice. However the union NZEI Te Riu Roa says in such uncertain economic times, staff need those same sorts of assurances.
NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter says "we cannot afford to have a repeat of the situation in Australia where profitable centres are being kept open and will be sold off later, but unprofitable centres are being closed down before Christmas with no staff redundancy provisions."
"The future of the company is as important to ABC staff as it is to parents and children. Staff need to be kept fully informed and know that their positions are recognised and valued as part of any change that may occur," he says.
NZEI would also like the government to monitor the situation to ensure that any prospective buyer would fit comfortably into the New Zealand early childhood environment, and be responsible in terms of the provision of quality early childhood teaching and learning.