Childcare workers rally outside Dáil
Over 1,000 childcare workers held a rally outside Leinster House, Dublin, at lunchtime on Tuesday (17th February) demanding better funding for the essential service they provide.
The protest was organised by the Association of Childhood Professionals (ACP), which seeks to highlight the work childcare professionals do, supporting children and families at the foundation stage of development.
This protest was supported by trade unions IMPACT & SIPTU.
Úna Faulkner, organiser with the Health division of the IMPACT said “Our members are doing a front line service job, educating and caring for the youngest children of Ireland. The value placed on them as professionals, however, is inadequate. The maximum salary they earn is just above minimum wage. This is simply not acceptable”.
“IMPACT wants to see a situation where workers in this sector have a standardised contract with a rate of pay that is appropriate for the essential professional work they do” she said.
Among those protesting was SIPTU member and community worker, Fintan Brunkard. He said: “The importance of the early childhood care can not be overstated but despite of that the people entrusted with caring for children at this most important stage are paid a pittance.”
He added: ‘There needs to be increased regulation in the private sector to stamp out sharp practices. In the community sector, funding must be increased to ensure workers are paid in accordance with their qualifications and the importance of their work.”
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Ireland had the highest cost for childcare of any of its 34 members. A family with two children will spend 40% of their average wage on childcare costs. Despite this high cost, the average hourly wage for a fully qualified childcare worker is between €8.65 and €10.50, according to Early Childhood Ireland.
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