SIPTU representatives will today (Friday, 11th August) attend crunch childcare pay talks at the Early Years Joint Labour Committee, as the union makes clear that poverty pay has caused a “crisis” in the sector. SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “After months of negotiation, pay talks have reached a critical point. Poverty pay has caused a staffing crisis in childcare with services struggling to recruit and retain staff. Early Years Educators and managers are qualified, dedicated and provide an essential public service, but they are failing to make ends meet on their current rates of pay. The minimum rate of pay for a qualified Early Years Educator is just €13 per hour, 85c below the Living Wage. “This has led to a staff turnover rate of 37% in private, full-day childcare services. That is simply unacceptable in terms of maintaining quality for children and the sustainability of services. If the minimum rate of pay remains at €13 per hour, the staffing crisis will turn into a disaster with reduced services for parents as well as increased stress and burnout for educators. “We are calling on the employers to step up at today's talks. It is time to agree a pay deal that recognises and rewards Early Years Educators and managers. Improved rates of pay would help end the staffing crisis by lifting thousands of Early Years Educators out of poverty pay.”