Early years childcare workers in Tipperary and across the country are appealing to the Government to invest €75 million in the sector and recognise their contribution with improved pay and conditions.
Currently, the pay is just above minimum wage, many workers are leaving the sector and they are calling for equality and recognition.
SIPTU spokesperson in North Tipperary, Pat McCabe said that many workers are struggling to make ends meet financially and this is demoralising for such a care oriented job.
He told Tipp FM News that more needs to be done and their pre-budget submission outlines what they are looking for.
“In order to have a stable workforce, with high quality education and care being delivered to our citizens, professional pay rates have to be established.
“We recognise that in the first session of negotiations under the Joint Labour Committee, we may not get to the professional pay scales in one or two jumps, but we will be on a pathway to professional pay and professional conditions for our members.”
He added that these workers need to be recognised with better pay and conditions and this can be done in conjunction with reduced fees for parents.
Mr McCabe told Tipp FM News that many of these workers have left the area of early years childcare in favour of jobs in retail, manufacturing or Special Needs Assistants, because currently they cannot get a mortgage, have no financial stability and many are on 38-week contracts.
In comparison to other EU countries, Ireland has one of the highest fee rates for early years, yet the workers are on the lowest rates of pay.