Local childcare workers are among those taking part in a virtual day of dction today (Friday, 5th February).
SIPTU says the early years sector is “on the verge of losing huge numbers of educators” as a result of poor pay and conditions.
The union wants supporters to wear red in protest and post a message online addressed to government using the hashtag #ValueEarlyYears.
Alison Farrell, of Bagenalstown’s Play and Learn Preschool, is issuing this plea “To wear red, I’d ask all providers to post on their Facebook pages, their social media, send texts to parents, encourage parents to get involved, we still need our voices heard, write to your local councillors and your TDs and really it’s the support, I think one united voice is what we’re looking for so if everyone can come on board and just talk to their local councillors, their TDs, and just going in and thanking fabulous staff that care and educate their children every day”.
Exactly one year on from the huge Together Stronger March by childcare workers across the country, nothing has changed and Alison says, the opposite appears to have happened, noting “Nothing has changed and I think in one end it really got worse because back in March when we had to close our doors our funding was pulled and that added huge pressure to the sector and obviously resulting in closures, layoffs and a very, very uncertain time for the sector across the board”.
She adds “I think the issue that we have at the moment is we’re still not being viewed as essential workers, we’re still not being viewed as the valuable professionals that we are, we’re kind of being viewed as the people who are looking after the essential workers’ children and that really isn’t good enough, we have women in the sector who have ten, twenty, you know thirty years of experience, who have degrees and masters, who are absolutely providing top quality for 10.50, 11 euro, 12 euro an hour and it just isn’t good enough anymore”.