Several unions representing workers in early years education came together on 5 May in a day of strike action and a demonstration in Brussels. Workers are angry about the impact of the pandemic on the sector and the failure of the authorities in the Wallonia and Brussels regions to address their concerns. The unions were also demanding a revaluation of pay in the sector and a range of other measures to deal with staffing issues, leave, contracts and increased public funding.
Childcare workers take action over pay, safety and staffing
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Public services union younion joined with the GPA-djp and vida private services unions in a protest outside a meeting of the advisory council on early years education. Supported by the ÖGB confederation and Chamber of Labour, the unions expressed their disappointment that they weren't involved in the council which was set to make important recommendations that would affect the 61500 workers in the sector. The unions argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of the sector and are calling for national quality standards, including staffing levels, to be introduced to end the
The FOA public services union has warned of the consequences of failing to maintain minimum staffing levels in childcare. It says that a survey of parents using childcare already reveals that 18% of parents have been affected by falling standards and reduced opening hours. FOA also quotes a television documentary that highlights the benefits to children of ensuring the minimum level of one childcare teacher per six children. Apart from the benefits to children the union also highlights the loss in tax revenue as the impact of fewer childcare places and reduced opening times equates to 5000
Public service union, younion has joined with private service unions GPA and vida as well as the ÖGB trade union confederation and Chamber of Labour to call on the government to take urgent steps to increase training in the childcare and after-school care sector. The unions point out that inadequate staffing levels were apparent before the pandemic but have become more acute and overburdened staff need the reassurance that newly trained staff will soon be recruited. They underline the fact that many workers in the sector are thinking about leaving and that a wave of retirements is also