Childcare workers protest across the country, shutting down centres as they demand improved wages, conditions and respect

Crowds are gathering in cities all over the country as more than 1,000 childcare centres shut down and thousands of early childhood workers protest over pay

United Workers Union (UWU) early education director Helen Gibbons called the shutdown "the largest action of early educators this country has ever seen."

Some centres have been closed for the whole day, while others have been closed for only a few hours.

The UWU thought that the closings would hurt at least 70,000 families. Ms. Gibbons said that the people who work in the sector want change because the current system "

doesn't deliver for educators, doesn't deliver for children, and doesn't deliver for families." She said, "We need real change."

Ms. Gibbons said that the workers who were taking part in the strike were trying to get three things.

"Give us a reason to stay in the field and pay us what we're worth," she said. 

Early childhood workers in every state and territory are rallying for changes to the field. 

It is thought that the closing of child care centres will affect about 70,000 families. 
Goodstart, Australia's largest non-profit childcare provider, says wages do need to be higher.