Labour Supports #ValueEarlyYears Campaign
Labour Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson for Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Senator Ivana Bacik will join early years professionals, childcare providers, parents and supporters in an online day of action for the Early Childhood Education and Care sector, organised by the Together for Early Years coalition.
Speaking on the day of action, Senator Bacik said:
“My Labour colleagues and I are glad to join with others in calling on the Government to value the early years sector today, exactly one year after 30,000 people took to the streets of Dublin to highlight poor pay and conditions for early years professionals.
“The plight of these dedicated frontline workers has been highlighted by a recent study carried out by SIPTU’s Big Start Campaign. 93% of early years professionals who responded to the survey said that they will leave the sector within five years if there is no change in their pay and conditions, while 38% are already actively seeking work in another sector. That equates to approximately 10,000 of the 26,500 people currently employed in childcare and early years facilities across the State.
“Financial insecurity and a general sense of being taken for granted are cited throughout the report as a cause of anxiety for these professionals, 67% of whom earn below the Living Wage, despite caring for and educating our children during their formative years. It is no coincidence that this vital workforce, which is so undervalued, is 98% comprised of women.
“As a parent myself, I know just how important early years professionals’ work is; it is time for them to be remunerated accordingly. I support the core demands of the campaign to set up a Joint Labour Committee for the sector this year and to guarantee adequate pay and conditions. Labour would go further to say that the Government must move to establish a universal, public childcare system, providing professional pay scales and a living wage for all workers and capping fees for parents at the EU average.
“I commend Together for Early Years’s composite organisations, SIPTU, the Association of Childhood Professionals, the Federation of Early Childhood Providers, the National Childhood Network, the National Community Childcare Forum, OMEP Ireland and PLÉ, for organising today’s event and for continuing to highlight the crisis in Early Childhood Education and Care.”