SIPTU representatives have today raised the serious concerns of Early Years Educators over the Government’s new vaccination schedule at a high level meeting with the Minister of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising and Campaigning, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Early Years Educators have stood up the plate at every stage of this pandemic by caring for and educating the children of essential workers. The vast majority of Early Years Educators are working without sick pay, earning below the Living Wage, and do not have the ability to socially distance. 72% of staff are under 45 years…

High quality Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services enhance children’s holistic development (including educational outcomes), support families, promote social inclusion, reduce child poverty and enhance future employability. Affordable services facilitate workforce participation for parents; particularly for women.

Despite these benefits and significant increases in investment, Ireland spends just 0.2% of GDP on ECEC. This is far below the European average of 0.8% and the UNICEF recommended benchmark of 1%. This funding gap has resulted in high fees for parents, extremely low pay for staff and a lack of financial sustainability for service providers. …

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…

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…

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

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…

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…

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

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…

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


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, …

SIPTU Big Start

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