Unions call for better pay, conditions and funding in early years education


Seven trade unions have come together to write a joint letter to the public service and other ministers calling for urgent negotiations over the pay and conditions of workers in early years education. The unions are critical of the €100 pay increase in the public sector which fails to match the €150 in the private sector, whether non-profit or for-profit. They are also unhappy that the increase will not be taken into account in the calculation of future salaries nor for pensions. The unions maintain that pay increases are inconsistent among occupations and leave major issues of inequality across the sector. They are also unhappy not to have been involved in consultations of any kind. The unions’ joint demands include an upgrading of salary scales and immediate payment of €189 per month (net and pensionable) for all childcare workers; recognition of arduous working conditions, allowing early retirement; improved working conditions and genuine recognition of qualifications in early childhood professions; a regulated staffing ratio of one qualified member of staff for every four children, regardless of age, and an immediate end to overcrowding on a daily basis; ambitious investment in a genuine public service as a clear alternative to the commercialisation of the sector; and compulsory payment of a one-off purchasing power bonus to all staff along with an immediate and significant increase in the index point.

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