Childcare workers being taken for granted - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
The Government is taking for granted low paid, but very committed childcare professionals according to Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire was speaking today during the course of questions to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone.
"The Association of Childcare Professionals has announced it will protest at the Dáil on the 17th November, and I agree with them I commend them. They have been taken for granted by successive Governments and they have been taken for granted by this Government.
"Many are paid little over €10 an hour despite doing a great deal of unpaid contact time, and despite having trained for many years to gain qualifications.
"In addition they have to sign on for jobseekers for most of the summer, which is most unfair, and makes it very difficult for them to make ends meet at that time.
"There was more or less nothing for them in this budget despite the fact that they will have to deal with enhanced and expanded numbers, and a new much changed sector.
"The Government failed to even begin bridging that summer gap, and paying workers for additional weeks, as we proposed, and failed to increase capitation for the higher and lower rates, which would make facilities more sustainable, and allow many facilities to offer fairer rates of pay.
"They failed also to open up the learner fund to level 7 and 8 qualifications, which would have opened up paths for career progression. The Government failed to do that, and is apparently expecting them to gain additional qualifications on their current low wages.
"That keeps many professionals, largely women, in insecure, low paid work. That is not sustainable, and ultimately we will struggle to hold on to what are very committed professionals in the sector unless this is dealt with.
"The minister gave lip service to the workers within the sector yet was unable to articulate any further plans for supports aside from the non-contact hours allocated in Budget 2017, a small gesture in the context.
"We cannot build a sector off the back of low paid work. It is exploitative and unsustainable.
"It is time for a fair deal for childcare workers, they cannot continue to be taken for granted."