The struggle of nursery workers escalated yesterday with the beginning of an indefinite strike, closing kindergartens the length and breadth of the country. The strike centres on the low pay of teachers and support staff in kindergartens, who have seen a massive increase in their responsibilities which has not been reflected in their pay. Morevoer the staff are expected to be more and more highly qualified in order to work in the nurseries.

The strike has been supported by the two unions, Ver.di and GEW, with massive majorities in the ballot - 93% and 96% respectively. The staff are 95% female, and a statement from the GEW makes the point: 'The employers are using gender stereotyping and exploiting the women financially. However the teachers will not put up with that.'

The unions are calling on parents for support in their action and a petition has been started by parents under the hashtag (parents for educators). The states:

'We parents are in solidarity with educators because we are partners in the raising of our children. What an achievement for two people to look after 20 to 25 children. To love every single child, to comfort them, to encourage and support them and be empathetic, patient and kind. And doing all that while keeping to the early years education plans with all the assocatied paperwork and regular meeting with parents.'