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Funchion Rapporteur for report on Early Childhood workers

25 January, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Speaking today following the Children and Youth Affairs Committee meeting in the Oireachtas, Sinn Féin's Spokesperson on Childcare  Kathleen Funchion she was delighted the committee has approved her request to become rapporteur for a report on the working conditions of professionals working in the early childhood sector.

She said:Workers in the early childhood sector are unfairly overlooked when dealing with the broader challenges in the sector. I am happy that I will get the opportunity now to dedicate a piece of work which main focus will be the critical challenges confronting those working in the sector. Workers' rights must form part of the national dialogue which is happening on childcare.

 Early childhood professionals are the backbone of the sector. Without them, there are no services for children. I believe that if this government does not urgently address issues such as low wages, job insecurity and burnout we will be facing an even bigger crisis in childcare.

 We know that the first few years in a child's life are crucial for their development. We must listen to those working on the frontline and hear why they are leaving their jobs at a high turnover rate even though most want to stay. We must create conditions which encourage a steady workforce and that offers prospects to those in it. We must change are attitude towards the early years sector and treat them with the same respect as those working in other levels of education.

We can not expect people to upskill and train to high levels at their own expense with the hopes of a career in early years but then ask them to stay in jobs that pay minimum or below minimum wage with no job security and zero hour contracts. I hope our report will highlight many of these issues and I look forward to working with those working on the frontline in services so that their voices are heard.

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