children playing

Low wages for childcare are shameful

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White, Victoria
Publication Date: 
14 Jan 2015



What's up with these childcare workers?

All we ask is that they look after our little tikes all day. True, that would have most of us reaching for the vodka bottle but they have training, haven't they?

At least I heard something about training after the Primetime revelations about abuse in crèches.

All the childcare workers were to have training instantly. They were not necessarily going to get any extra pay.

But their pay was, in any case, nothing to do with the Department of Children which contracts out the free pre-school year to the private crèches.

Not that pay is an issue for childcare workers anyway, who are just doing what women have always done, aren't they?

That's the nub of it, sisters. Childcare workers are not properly paid because what they are doing is perceived as "women's work".

So what if you're qualified to degree level and have loads of experience and you're earning €18,000?

Didn't you realise all this stuff about the importance of preschool was just guff to mask the fact that the free pre-school year saved the State €200m, compared with the Early Years payment?

The scheme is so badly funded that crèches are only paid for the 15 contact hours the staff have weekly with the kids.


They are given absolutely no funding for planning or special needs provision.

This is the wonderful Scandinavian-style childcare system we were promised in 2012 by Joan Burton.

The only people who make decent wages in childcare in Ireland are the owners of large crèches or of crèche chains.

These owners are the people to whom the Government contracts out the free pre-school year with our money.

Leaving the childcare workers getting down and dirty with their stubby crayons.

Well, they've had enough, it seems. They're taking to the streets of Dublin on February 17 next to demand better conditions and there is even talk of strike action.

It is only when the economic building is threatened that the Government will realise it's built on the sand of unpaid women's work.

Understand once and for all that the care of young children is a vital service, whether at home or at crèche.

It needs to be paid for through taxation.

If that doesn't happen the gender pay gap will continue to yawn and children will suffer.

Meanwhile, women will continue to fight their way out of poverty by crushing other women further into it.