The inaugural ‘Early Years Union’ conference for workers in that sector was held on 6th April in Liberty Hall Theatre.Early Years Educators and Managers attended and debated a series of motions on the future of the sector including how to achieve a minimum baseline pay rate of €15 per hour, through increased Government funding.

 The theme of the conference was ‘Our Union, Our Future’ and the event marked the further integration of these members into the SIPTU Community Sector. While the conference didn’t shy away from the challenges faced by the sector, including stress, burnout, staffing shortages, and low pay, it also served as a platform for constructive dialogue and practical solutions to what is a looming staffing crisis. 

Keynote speaker, the Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman supported these calls and said he is committed to exploring the case for a public childcare system.

The conference followed the successful organising drive, over several years, of the Big Start campaign. Members in childcare will now be organised as a section, called the ‘Early Years Union’, within the SIPTU Community Sector.

SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Brendan Carr, said: “The conference was an important stage in organising these workers fully into our Sector. I would encourage our members in the Early Years sector to become involved in the Sector through its committees and attending other meetings. As a united sector we can achieve more for all our members including those involved in childcare.”

Picture: Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, with SIPTU activists at the Early Years Union on 6th April in Liberty Hall Theatre, Dublin.