The government has put forward a proposal to set up a joint labour committee (JLC) that would determine minimum pay and working conditions for the childcare sector. Currently there is no sector bargaining covering childcare workers and unions have been campaigning for years to tackle low pay and precarious employment. JLCs are independent bodies that exist in sectors like security and cleaning where there is no sector bargaining. They issue employment regulation orders (ERO) setting minimum pay rates and conditions. SIPTU says that a JLC would provide an opportunity for the union and the IBEC employers’ organisation to engage in negotiations on an ERO which could ultimately establish long-awaited binding rates of pay and conditions for the sector.
Union welcomes proposal on childcare sector pay
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Public and private sector unions representing workers in early years education, younion and GPA, have attacked government plans for the sector as farcical. They argue that the claim that there will be an extra billion euros in funding is a sham and that in reality the additional money is less than €60 million and already worth less because of inflation. The unions are also concerned that the aim is to create more childcare places when facilities are already full and staff overstretched. They also criticise the government for developing policies without proper consultation and negotiation with
The vida services union has negotiated a 3% pay increase that will cover around 5000 childcare assistants working in private institutions and take the minimum wage in the sector to EUR 1611 a month. Pay for this group of workers is regulated by the ministry of social affairs. There will also be a 3% increase on additional payments and a new pay level for workers with 31 years of service or more.
Low pay, understaffing, inadequate opportunities for training and career development, increasing administrative work and health and safety issues are among some of the main challenges facing workers in childcare according to new research commissioned by EPSU. As part of a European Commission-funded project, "Quality Employment and Quality Public Services", EPSU asked the HIVA research unit at Leuven University to carry out four country case studies, investigating the situation of childcare workers in Bulgaria, Italy, Sweden and the UK. There were also positive developments in relation to the