Image for post
Image for post

SIPTU representatives today (Friday 8th January) called on government to limit Early Years services to children of essential frontline workers and the most vulnerable children.

Provision of care is only for children of essential frontline workers required to be physically present in their workplace on the days that they are working. This requires both parents to be essential with the exception of single parents.

Head of Strategic Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Early Years educators are genuinely frightened right now. It is impossible to socially distance when caring for children and when the use of facemasks in not mandatory”

“Given the rampant spread of Covid-19 and needing to reduce social contacts, SIPTU is calling on government to limit Early Years to essential frontline workers. The ‘List of Essential Workers’ updated by the Department of an Taoiseach today states that “essential workers are those providing the services below where such services can only be provided in person and cannot be delivered remotely”. Currently non-frontline workers can access childcare service”. …

31st December

SIPTU representatives have today (Thursday, 31st December) demanded that equal treatment is applied to all educators under new Level 5 restrictions.

Speaking following the announcement of the move, SIPTU Head of Organising Darragh O’Connor said: “An Taoiseach told the nation that the reopening of primary and secondary schools will be delayed to allow families to minimise their contacts and allow schools implement new Covid-19 protective measures. The reality is that Early Years educators and parents face the exact same challenges. However as it stands the early years sector is expected to reopen from Monday 4th January.”

He added: “SIPTU is demanding that the start date is pushed back to coincide with the reopening of schools and that equal treatment for Early Years educators is applied to ensure the same protections can be implemented and people are kept safe.” …

Image for post
Image for post

1. The OECD has only recently begun publishing ‘teacher’ salaries at pre-primary level. It is available here.

2. There are a number of caveats in this data:

· The salaries are expressed in US $ purchasing power parities

· The salaries are based on ‘public institutions’. These are no directly comparable to Ireland’s early years’ system which doesn’t have public institutions.

· The OECD data does not have Irish data. The data for Ireland is taken from Pobal’s ‘Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report’ and converted into US$ purchasing power parities

· The average annual salaries includes bonuses and allowances

3. International…

Image for post
Image for post

SIPTU representatives have today (Tuesday, 20th October) demanded that the Government and employers take immediate action to ensure that workers in the childcare sector are provided with adequate protection from Covid-19 infection.

SIPTU Head of Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Figures released by the HSE to then Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, Louise O’Reilly, show that the percentage of children and staff who tested positive for Covid-19 in childcare facilities is double the number found in primary and secondary schools.

“It is clear from these figures that the measures to protect childcare professionals are not adequate to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Poverty incomes, a lack of sick pay and high staff turnover are undermining Covid-19 control measures in childcare settings. This vital public service was at the forefront of the reopening the economy in June but the professionals who provide care and education to children in these workplaces have not be provided with the protections adequate to carry out their essential role. …

Image for post
Image for post

The Minister for Children has a problem; poor pay and conditions have caused a staffing crisis in Early Years.

He knows he has a problem because over a 1,000 SIPTU members signed an open letter calling for professional pay and conditions for Early Years Educators.

He knows he has a problem because thousands more have contacted their local TD.

He knows he has a problem because our submissions on the Workforce Development Plan and Funding Model call for qualifications and experience to be recognised with proper pay scales, sick leave, maternity pay and a pension.

He knows it because union members are using their voice. …

The low pay crisis is getting worse.

This week SIPTU launched the Early Years Professionals ‘Back to Work’ survey results. The finding are stark.

For Early Years Professionals who have returned to work:

  • 29% are earning less now than before the lock-down
  • 61% are struggling to make ends meet
  • 31% intend to leave their profession within the next 12 months
Image for post
Image for post

Low pay does not just impact living standards, it takes a toll psychologically and emotionally.

It also reflects the lack of recognition for our profession and the vital public service we deliver.

Government Must Act

The new government has pledged to make a “career in childcare more attractive” and to develop “career paths for childcare staff”. …

Image for post
Image for post

SIPTU members campaigned hard to make Early Years sector a priority in the last election.

Our demands are clear and consistent; we want pay scales that recognise our work, greater public investment and a new funding model.

This will deliver our shared vision for a high quality, affordable and accessible Early Years sector.

If the Programme for Government agreed this week by Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party is adopted, it will represent progress towards achieving this vision.

But we need to make sure the new government delivers funding for a Sectoral Employment Order and better pay.

Programme for Government

The Programme for Government is a step in the right direction. …

Image for post
Image for post

Funding for the reopening of childcare services, announced today (10th June) by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, has failed to address the major issues facing early years Educators, according to SIPTU,

SIPTU Head of Organising, Darragh O’Connor said, “For months families have been struggling to balance work and look after children. The funding announced today should see vital childcare services reopen on the 29th June.

“However, even before Covid-19, the sector was in the middle of a low pay and staffing crisis. A majority of Educators earn below the Living Wage of €12.30, …

Image for post
Image for post

The 29th of June will be a big day for many children, educators and providers.

After a long three months Early Years services can reopen again.

Understandably, there is a mix of emotions and a lot of questions.

SIPTU’s first priority is the safety and welfare of educators, children and parents.

That’s why we have set up a ‘Return to Work Protocol’ Helpline to answer your questions and queries. It is open Monday to Friday between 10am and 5pm

Return to Work Protocol — Helpline

As businesses in general start to reopen, we need measures in place that will prevent the spread of Covid-19.

That’s why a Return to Work Safely Protocol was published on the 9th of May by government after negotiations with unions and employer groups. …

Image for post
Image for post

This survey was conducted during May 2020 with the aim of identifying the key issues associated with the reopening of Early Years services for the children essential workers on June 29th.

The responses will inform SIPTU’s work on the DCYA Reopening Advisory Group and the application of the government’s ‘Return to Work Safely Protocol’ to the Early Years sector.

The survey asked questions of two key groups.

Group 1 consisted of educators, room leaders and deputy managers.

Group 2 consisted of managers and owner managers.

The total number of respondents was 6,128 with a complete response rate of 5,183.

The key finding are set out below. After an initial question, Group 1 responses are followed for Group 2 responses.

Questions for all respondents

SIPTU Big Start

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store