SIPTU organisers will be visiting Early Years care and education facilities across Westmeath on Tuesday, 9th April, as part of the union’s Big Start Campaign which is aimed at improving the childcare sector for workers, children and their families. SIPTU Organiser, Anne Craughwell, said: “Currently, Ireland only invests a quarter of the average for OECD countries in the childcare sector. This results in low pay for workers and high fees for families. Providing these services on a shoestring budget is unsustainable. The Big Start Campaign is organising workers, providers and families so that together they can fight for a better Early Years sector.” SIPTU Sector Organiser, Pat McCabe, said: “SIPTU has been running this national campaign for two years with educators and providers within the sector joining the union in ever increasing numbers. We are determined to ensure that Early Years takes its rightful place within the teaching profession as is the case in more progressive child focused countries. Our organisers are looking forward to engaging with providers and workers across county Westmeath so together we can create the childcare services we all aspire too.” SIPTU Organiser, Martin O’Rourke, said: “A central aim of the Big Start Campaign is to secure a Sectoral Employment Order (SEO) for educators within the Early Years sector.  In this endeavour we have the support of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone.” He added: “Securing an SEO will deliver the necessary pay increases for the professionals employed within the sector and lead to other general improvements.”