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21/09/2021

Workers in early childcare sector in Kilkenny meet with Minister Noonan

Workers in early childcare sector in Kilkenny meet with Minister Noonan

Minister Noonan with local Big Start activists

SIPTU members working in the early childcare sector recently met with Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan and voiced their deep dissatisfaction with the current funding model for the Early Years Sector, and the issues of poverty pay, no provision for sick pay and pension and the high cost for parents.

Members are seeking support for the New Deal for Early Years coalition’s  Pre Budget Submission, which seeks an investment of €150 million in the upcoming Budget to address what members have described as ‘poverty pay rates’ that apply to early years educators and to reduce parents fees.

Minister Noonan reiterated his support for greater investment in the early years sector, and listened to educators concerns, particularly in relation to the high turnover of staff which was identified in the early years staffing survey carried out by SIPTU in September. He committed to raising members concerns with Minister O’Gorman, his party colleague and to press for greater targeted funding for the early years sector.

“My own involvement with the early years services in Kilkenny means I understand and have empathy with early years teachers and I want to see improvements in pay to address the issues expressed by the members I met.”

Early Years teacher, Kayleigh Dunne stated;

“Education and Care for our youngest citizens is being completely undermined by poor pay. Qualified, Experienced committed staff are voting with their  feet. Average hourly pay is €11.91, leaving many of us unable to progress in life, with even car loans out of reach, never mind mortgages”

Early Years Activist, Sarah Taylor added;

“The survey found that  33% of respondents  expressed Stress was a factor in leaving. Considering we stepped up during the pandemic to provide education and care while suffering all the pressure of trying to make ends meet on poverty pay rates it’s unsurprising. The toll on Educators mental health leaves little option for many bit to seek work elsewhere. That will undermine quality education and care for children and parents will struggle to access a place for their child.”

Nessa Lyons, and Early Years Teacher with 30 year’ s experience said;

“It’s time for our government to step up the same way we did, and give us a pathway to professional pay. A graduate led early years education and care sector cannot be achieved if graduate pay and conditions aren’t forthcoming. The pay negotiations are kicking off soon, and we expect Minister O’Gorman to secure funding that will allow Services to implement improved pay rates when agreed.

 

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