SIPTU representatives have expressed disappointment at the failure of the Government to address the low pay and staffing crisis in childcare in Budget 2020 and have vowed to escalate the union’s campaign by workers in the sector. SIPTU Head of Strategic Organising and Campaigns, Darragh O’Connor, said: “Budget 2020 was an opportunity to support decent pay for educators and introduce a Living Wage. Instead, the Government has chosen to ignore the crisis of low pay and staffing in childcare. “Early Years educators now have no option but to escalate their campaign and turn their focus on making their voices heard in the upcoming general election. The current funding model has clearly failed as educators earn poverty wages and parents pay the highest fees in the EU. “A new funding model that supports high quality, affordable childcare with decent pay will be the priority for SIPTU members for the next general election. The 25,000 people working in childcare will no longer cover the Government’s failure to invest in the sector through low pay and poor conditions.” He added: “Low pay and poor conditions mean that educators in the childcare sector are struggling to make ends meet. The average rate of pay is just €11.18 per hour while many are on the minimum wage. This is well below the Living Wage of €12.30. Unsurprisingly, 25% of educators are leaving their job each year, directly undermining quality for children and the sustainability of services. Simply put, childcare is in crisis.”