Early Years Educators, providers and parents will take part in a Virtual Day of Action on Friday, 5th February, 2021 to highlight the ongoing crisis of low pay and funding in the early years, childcare sector. The Day of Action, organised by ‘Together for Early Years’ will consist of supporters wearing red, writing a message to government on a poster and posting a photograph to social media using the hashtag #ValueEarlyYears from 1.00 p.m. Darragh O’Connor, SIPTU Head of Organising said: “Early years educators are playing their part in the fight against Covid-19. However, the crisis of poverty pay and conditions remain. Poor pay is driving fantastic educators out of a profession they love. Even before the pandemic, there was a staffing crisis but we are now on the verge of losing huge numbers of educators unless pay and conditions are addressed.” Elaine Dunne, Chair of the Federation of Early Childhood Providers said: “Our protest last year brought 30,000 people on to the streets of Dublin and it had an impact. Currently we are the only education sector still functioning, despite being fearful and unvaccinated. We can’t all physically march again this year so we are asking people to join us virtually and to create awareness of the real crisis that still exists in our sector”. Chairperson of the Association of Childhood Professionals, Marian Quinn said: “We need to begin planning for a future where early years professionals are respected and appropriately remunerated for the hugely important work they do. To ensure that this cost is not borne by parents, the Government needs to provide significant additional funding to increase wages while maintaining the sustainability of both early years, school age care and education services.” ‘Together for Early Years’ is an umbrella group consisting of Association of Childhood Professionals, the Federation of Early Childhood Providers, the National Community Childcare Forum, the National Childhood Network, PLE, OMEP Ireland and SIPTU.