SIPTU representatives are set to demand that a living wage is paid to all Early Years educators as part of the unions’ pre-budget submission. Speaking in advance of the launch of the pre-budget submission on Monday (15th July) at 6.00 p.m. in Our Lady of Lourdes Creche, Limerick, SIPTU Organiser Yvonne McGrath, said: “Early Years educators are paid €1.12 per hour below the living wage. This means that qualified and skilled educators are struggling to make ends meet and simply cannot afford to stay in a job they love.”She added: “If we want good quality for our children, we need to invest in decent wages for Early Years educators. The government spends just 0.3% of GDP on Early Years education and care compared to the EU average of 0.7% and well below the UNICEF target of 1%. This has resulted in low pay for workers and high fees for parents. We are calling on the Government to make a real difference in Budget 2020 and ensure all workers earn the at least the living wage of €12.30 per hour. This investment will cost €32 million.”SIPTU activist, Majella O’Connor, said: “Until the low pay of Early Years educators is addressed, we will still rightly feel we are not adequately recognised or valued. We need the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, to make good on her commitment to radically overhaul the Early Years funding system and ensure that educators in the sector earn a decent wage for their invaluable work.”SIPTU activist, Yvonne Galvin, said: “Providers, educators and parents are all struggling. Unless we start working together nothing is going to change. If we want affordable, high quality childcare we need to build a strong childcare union that can fight for educators, providers and parents and that is why I joined SIPTU. Every day, I see the difference that high quality Early Years education and care makes to the lives of children. However, across our sector, low pay is undermining the drive for quality.”The launch will be attended by Dr Mary Moloney (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick), Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Michael Sheahan, Senator Paul Gavan, Maurice Quinlivan TD and SIPTU activists working in the Early Years sector.