Seanad debates

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Childcare Services

10:30 am

Photo of Paul GavanPaul Gavan (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister for his response. I have a couple of points to make. I acknowledge that the engagement with ICTU is important and I welcome it. We need to see ICTU play a key role in addressing these two key issues and I know it is willing to do so.

I refer to the issue of pay. It should be clarified that the most common position is that of early years assistant, and the average wage of that post, according to 2020 data which I have seen, is €11.46 per hour. Indeed, the Minister has acknowledged that 60% of people earn below that living wage.

I wish to challenge the Minister on one key point. He has said that the State is not the employer, but the fact of the matter is that his Department determines 60% of funding, not just in terms of wages, but in terms of the overall sector as a whole. That gives the Minister a fundamental say because the service could not exist without this crucial departmental support. I put it to the Minister that he must go beyond what the civil servants are telling him, and work for that living wage guarantee. It can be done and it needs the political will to do so. The sector will buy into it if it comes from the Minister. I hope that in the time between now and the announcement of the budget next Tuesday, the Minister will reflect on it.


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