Childcare workers to strike over 'gross underpayment'

More than a thousand childcare workers are set to walk off the job on International Women's Day in protest of their pay rates.

Early childhood educators from every state and territory will stop work from 3.20pm on Wednesday afternoon.

The United Voice union has labelled the "gross underpayment" of an overwhelmingly female workforce a national disgrace and has called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to fix it.

"Parents respect the critical contribution of educators to their children - Mr Turnbull needs to demonstrate that he does too by funding equal pay," assistant national secretary Helen Gibbons said in a statement.

Childcare workers in Melbourne walked off the job late last year over a pay dispute. Source: AAP

Prime Minister Turnbull has come under fire over the pay dispute. Source: AAP

Ms Gibbons says 97 per cent of childcare workers are women, but that does not make it women's work.

She said parents' support for the strike had been overwhelming, claiming many had vowed to walk off with their educators.

Meanwhile, the federal government has announced it will expand a program that gives pre-employment training to women looking to return to work.

Pilot projects in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, in partnership with UnitingCare Australia, will be extended to NSW and the ACT.

It is expected to be the largest childcare work in Australia's history. Source: 7 News

Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash, said the government was committing $10 million over the next three years to the 'Launch to Work' program.

"This program is designed to create new partnerships with not-for-profits and businesses which are ready to invest in Australian women," Senator Cash said in a statement.

She noted the government's investment in child care and domestic violence campaigns reflected the government's support for Australian women.

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