A survey of student early years educators, carried out by the SIPTU trade union, found that one third intended to leave the sector, with low pay the main issue forcing them into a change of career or into working abroad. A massive 94% of students don’t believe the current wages in the sector are fair. Of the 945 people surveyed, over half are currently working in the sector as well as studying and of these 47% are earning below the living wage of €12.30 per hour. The union wants to see a publicly funded model of early years education and childcare which includes a mechanism for ensuring
Low pay/minimum wages, Ireland, Azerbaijan
The SIPTU trade union has just published findings from a survey of early years professionals showing that 43% of childcare workers are actively seeking another job due to low pay levels in the sector. The findings also show that 90% of workers struggle to make ends meet, 77% have no work sick pay scheme and just 10% receive paid maternity leave from their employer. More than seven in 10 workers have found dealing with COVID stressful while just over nine in 10 would consider leaving the profession in the next five years if there are no improvements in pay and conditions.
The SIPTU union has called on the government to set a budget that includes a guaranteed living wage for all childcare workers along with a sick pay scheme. The living wage is €12.30 an hour while the average wage in the sector is €11.46 and the union argues that higher pay will be important in reducing the 40% staff turnover among childcare workers. SIPTU also points out that 79% of childcare workers don't have a sick pay scheme and this is inhibiting the sector's response to ensuring safe workplaces for both workers and children.
The SIPTU general union is planning to step up its childcare campaign after the government failed to boost funding in its latest budget. The union highlights low pay and high costs in the sector. Average pay for the 25000 mainly women childcare workers is only EUR 11.18 compared to the living wage of EUR 12.30. SIPTU says the government's failure to invest in the sector means that around one in four workers are leaving each year, raising serious issues of sustainability.
Members of public services union Forsa who work as school secretaries (head of administration in schools) have voted with a nine-to-one majority to take industrial action from 20 September. The secretaries have a long-standing issue over a two-tier system that leaves most of them who are employed by schools on low pay and without other benefits such as sick pay and pensions. In contrast, a minority are directly employed public servants who benefit from much better pay and conditions. The action will mainly consist of a work-to-rule.
The SIPTU services union has called on the government to commit to funding early years education in order to ensure a living wage for all childcare workers. The union says that, on average, early years educators are paid EUR 1.12 less than the living wage of EUR 12.30 an hour. SIPTU wants to see the living wage established as the minimum rate for all childcare workers as an important step in recognising the value of the profession and to begin to address turnover and staff shortages.
INMO, the nurses' and midwives' union, is balloting its members over strike action in protest at low pay and staffing shortages. If agreed, there will be 24-hour strike with proposals already to escalate this to two days of action in the following week if the government fails to respond. INMO says that for every four nursing vacancies there is only one application and that the health service is paying employment agencies EUR 10000 for every nurse or midwife they recruit. It underlines the importance of tackling this issue to ensure the safety of patients which is under threat as a result of
The SIPTU general workers' union has welcomed new government intiatives on funding and regulation of the childcare sector which it believes will help improve children's safety and the quality of care. However, the union argues that urgent action is needed to tackle low pay and precarious employment in the sector. SIPTU says with average pay at only EUR 10.88 an hour, there are significant recruitment and retention problems as reflected in a staff turnover rate of just over 28%.The union wants to see a major overhaul of funding for the sector to provide the basis of decent pay for such
The SIPTU services union has negotiated an agreement that could provide significant improvements to the pay and conditions of around 8000 home care workers employed in the community sector. The workers will have a guarantee that travel time will be include in the calculation of their pay and working time and the new deal should see them benefit from a proper valuation of their work, with minimum qualifications to be set for new workers and an end to precarious work. This will help bring the sector more line with the pay and conditions enjoyed by workers directly employed by the Health Service
Public service unions, including Fórsa and SIPTU, have met with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for discussions on dealing more rapidly with the problem of pay equity for new entrants to the public service. In the pay changes implemented as part of austerity measures in 2011, two additional points were added to the first two pay grades for new starters. This means that they need two more years to reach the top of their pay grades compared to higher grades. The unions argue that with economic growth and higher tax revenues, it should be possible to tackle this issue in advance
Public service trade unions have secured talks with the government to deal with the issue of low pay for new entrants. In 2011, as part of austerity measures, the government introduced two new lower pay grades for new recruits. This was not agreed by trade unions at the time and they have continued to demand action by the government. It is estimated that 60000 workers have been taken on since 2011 and have started on these lower rates of pay.
Responding to a government consultation the IMPACT public services union has called for a number of initiatives on on equal pay and gender equality, including requirements on employers to report on the gender pay gap and recognition of employers who take action to reduce gender equality. The union has submitted detailed proposals for action to address pay for non-teaching staff in education including pay reviews and job evaluation for a range of staff such as special needs assistants and administrative and library staff, the vast majority of whom are women.
The IMPACT and SIPTU trade unions are working hard to push childcare up the political agenda. IMPACT has just submitted a call for a major increase in childcare funding with an extra €125 million this year and €625 million over the next five years. The union wants to see the introduction of an agreed salary scale as an important contribution to the professionalisation of the sector. SIPTU is putting across similar demands in its Big Start campaign.