Childcare workers right to protest must be respected
Labour General Election candidate for Dublin Fingal, Cllr Duncan Smith, has called on the Department of Children to respect early years educators right to protest.
It comes as the Department of Children issued a circular to childcare providers warning them that funding will be slashed if they take part in the rally, organised by the Early Years Alliance, next week.
Cllr Smith said:
“This heavy-handed approach by Minister Zappone’s department is not helpful to workers, parents or providers. Everybody accepts that if you are on strike you don’t get paid but for the department to refuse any flexibility and make up the day later in the year, which is normal practice is cold, calculated and sets out to divide and conquer a growing and united sector.
“Hundreds of early years educators from Skerries to Swords and right across Fingal have signed up to take part in this rally to make their voices heard and all parents I have met on the doors during this campaign fully support them.
“The Minister needs to immediately clarify whether this warning issued to creche owners by her department was done so at her request. This is a sector under enormous cost pressure.
“As the Minister at the helm of the Department, the buck stops with her and we need to know who signed off on it?
“We need a sustainable solution to the worsening childcare crisis, not for early years educators’ democratic rights to be suppressed. That won’t help our children, parents, workers or providers. I call on the Department to pull back from the brink, show some flexibility and respect early years educators’ right to protest.
“It is also very clear that the childcare sector needs a major overhaul. Labour’s plan for a public childcare scheme for working parents would ensure we have a high-quality, but affordable childcare option for parents, while workers would also be paid what they deserve.”