SIPTU Head of Organising and Campaigns, Darragh O’Connor, said: “We have a big decision to make about the future of childcare in Ireland. Do we want a corporate model where profit is the main aim, or do we want a model focused on the needs of children and their parents?
“The vast majority of childcare educators and providers, both community and private, are committed to high quality care and education for children. However, as an RTÉ Prime Investigates programme due to be broadcast tonight indicates there remain big challenges to developing a uniform high-quality standard of childcare across the country.
“Early Years educators, on average, earn just €11.18 per hour, which is €1.12 less than the Living Wage. This means that many are struggling to make ends meet and are being forced to leave jobs they love and for which they have expertise. This high turnover of educators undermines the foundation for good quality and sustainable services.
“We need a new Early Years model where children come first. They need to be supported by professionals who are paid a decent wage and providers who put quality first. Most providers and educators share our vision for the Early Years sector, which is one that is high quality, affordable with decent pay and sustainable services.”
He added: “The Big Start Campaign which organises almost 5,000 workers within the sector is committed to working with the Government, providers and parents to work for the creation of a high quality, affordable, accessible Early Years sector with quality jobs.”