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.
Pay is the Solution
The Minister for Children is hearing us loud and clear.
Answering Senator Paul Gavan yesterday, Minister O’Gorman stated that “there is a need for a significant improvement in the pay and working conditions” of Early Years Educators.
He also stated that “low pay and poor conditions have an impact on quality… through its impact on the recruitment and retention of qualified staff”.
The is no argument; poor pay and conditions are causing the staffing crisis.
Some organisations are advocating that students or unqualified staff be used to fill the gaps.
SIPTU believes this is the wrong approach.
The DCYA have confirmed that there is no shortage of qualified Early Years Educators in Ireland.
The question is not “how do we get students to work in Early Years settings?”, but rather “how do we attract and retain the Early Years Educators who are already qualified and experienced?”.
We need to be recognised and rewarded as professionals; this is how you solve the staffing crisis.