Childcare workers deserve fair wages – Sandra McLellan T.D.

17 February 2015
By Bryan Smyth
bryan@TheCork.ie

Sinn Féin spokeswoman on Children Sandra McLellan (A Cork East TD) has
offered her support to the childcare workers who are marching on the
Dáil today. The protest which is being organised by the Association of
Childhood Professionals (ACP) aims to highlight the vital work carried
out by qualified childcare workers, which is being undermined by low
pay.

Deputy McLellan said:

“There is a crisis of insecurity and low pay for workers across the
childcare sector, many of whom are getting just above minimum wage.
This is in spite of growing numbers of childcare workers getting
professional qualifications.”

“Since the introduction of the free pre-school year, many childcare
workers are on contracts of just 38 weeks per year. Opportunities for
career development are also very limited. It’s evident that pay and
conditions do not reflect the professional and highly important work
that childcare workers do.”

“This crisis has been compounded by lack of investment in childcare
services. We currently invest 0.2% of GDP in childcare. This is
considerably less than the OECD average of 0.7% of GDP. This chronic
state under investment does not reflect the vital role that early
education plays in the development of the youngest citizens of the
state.”

“The childcare crisis is a complex one, which demands a considered and
thorough policy response. Tax credits aren’t the magic wand they are
made out to be by some. Their value could be quickly eroded by
increased fees such is the scale of legitimate pressure on pay across
the sector. Tax breaks will also do nothing to further the quality
agenda in childcare delivery.”

“As Rapporteur on Childcare to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and
Children, I will be engaging in a consultation with stakeholders and
aim to report before the summer. Sinn Féin is in the process of
examining progressive funding models for childcare which aim to make
childcare more affordable for families that depend on it, and which
can properly remunerate and support childcare workers for the
indispensable work that they do. ”

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