SIPTU representatives have tonight (Thursday, 8th June) called on childcare services employers groups to show the leadership necessary to conclude a pay deal for workers in the sector at ongoing talks at the Early Years Joint Labour Committee which are taking place in Dublin. The call comes following the adjournment of pay talks involving SIPTU, representing Early Years educators and managers, and employers represented by IBEC and the Federation of Early Childhood Providers.  SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising and Campaigns, Darragh O’Connor said: “SIPTU representatives have presented a minimum €15 per hour pay claim for all Early Years educators and increases in wages for other grades of workers in the sector. The eyes of thousands Early Years educators and managers are on these talks, the outcome of which will define whether they remain working in the profession or not. “A survey conducted earlier this year showed that 70% of staff intend to leave the sector ‘if things stay the same’, so a new pay deal is essential for the future of these services upon which hundreds of thousands of families rely. “Staff turnover in private full day childcare services is 37% every year. This is simply unacceptable in terms of maintaining the quality of services and their sustainability. If the minimum rate of hourly pay remains at €13 the staffing crisis will turn into a disaster with reduced services for parents and increased stress and burnout for educators.  “The reality is that, through the core funding model, the Government increased funding to providers by €207 million last year to support better pay. It is our firm belief that there is capacity within the existing state allocation to significantly improve pay.” He added: “The threat to force the cost of pay rises onto already struggling parents is not acceptable. It makes no economic, social or political sense and we fear it will ultimately drive low paid people and women out of the workforce. We will not stand for that.”