SIPTU has today (Thursday, 10th December) accepted an invitation from the Minister for Children, Equality Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman, to discuss pay and conditions for childcare workers with him and the employers’ representative group, IBEC. SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Poor pay and conditions are leaving childcare professionals in poverty and undermining quality care for children. The Programme for Government committed to addressing the low pay crisis in this sector by establishing a Joint Labour Committee (JLC). These upcoming discussions can be an important step in this process.  “The Minister has also appointed the former chairperson of the Labour Court, Kevin Duffy, as the independent chair of a discussion process which will take place over an eight-week period. The first meeting will take place early on 22ndDecember.” He added: “Public investment in the Early Years childcare sector needs to increase significantly, fees for parents must be reduced, workers’ pay improved and the standard of care enhanced. However, this will not happen without an effective mechanism, such as a JLC, that will ensure public money delivers for workers, parents and wider society.”