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 which means they will have to wait even longer to be protected under the government’s new plan. As it stands, this plan simply serves to reinforce the belief of Early Years Educators that this government does not value them as essential front line workers.”

He added: “The Government must ensure these essential front line workers are protected as much as possible and revisit the prioritisation schedule as more vaccines become available.
Government must recognise the essential work of Early Years Educators by establishing a Joint Labour Committee (JLC) that would introduce a sick pay scheme and lift these essential workers out of a perpetual poverty pay trap.”

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