CHILDCARE centres across Louth are preparing to hold a work stoppage tomorrow (Friday, October 27) in a bid to highlight a lack of Government investment in the sector.
A number of early learning and childcare centres have plans to close early – with each centre deciding on the specific time, as well as providing information to parents.
“We will be closed tomorrow but we're not taking part in the work stoppage. We're closing because of the Bank Holiday weekend,” said The Holy Family Community Creche Financial Manager Irene Daly.
“Even though we're not taking part in the stoppage we have complete sympathy with childcare providers who are taking this action.”
Ms Daly added: “Something needs to be done to raise awareness about issues such as low wages in the sector.
“Many people are on minimum wage or slightly more even though it's a highly educated workforce now.”
The work stoppage is part of a nationwide action being organised by the Association of Childhood Professionals (ACP).
“Government policy exploits the early childhood education and care profession to deliver schemes on the cheap,” said ACP Chairperson Marian Quinn.
“The true cost is subsidised by the low wages of the early years teachers and an unsustainability faced by service providers.”
Ms Daly also said the Government's failure to close early years childcare providers during Storm Ophelia caused “uproar” in the sector.
“Children aged 0 to five were treated less favourably by the Government. Why differentiate between schools and childcare providers?” she said.
“Staff had to risk themselves to make sure the buildings were safe and fit for purpose. It's the forgotten sector and someone needs to raise a flag and fight for the sector.”