News & Media

Labour welcomes Joint Labour Committee for the Early Years Sector

12 March 2021

Statement by Seán Sherlock TD
Parliamentary Party Chair and Spokesperson on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands; Agriculture and the Marine

Labour Party Deputy Seán Sherlock welcomed the news from Minister O’Gorman’s a Joint Labour Committee for the Early Years Sector should be formed to set pay and conditions for the sector. However, Deputy Sherlock urged the Government not to drag their heels on taking action.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“This is great news for workers in the early years sector. Labour was proud to have re-established the JLC system which allows all workers and employers in a sector to engage and collectively bargain on legal minimum rates of pay and terms and conditions.

“It’s time now for Minister English to make a definitive decision on this. This can’t be dragged on any longer. The workers in the sector expect clear timelines and clear deliverables and it is reasonable that they should not have to wait two or three years before they see some light at the end of the tunnel. We will keep the pressure on the Minister in respect of ensuring that we all move towards a scenario in this country whereby people are given a proper wage for the work they do and in recognition of their qualifications.

“The early years sector has more than shown its value to State throughout the pandemic. As a parent myself, I know just how important early years professionals’ work is; it is time for them to be remunerated accordingly. These workers carry out essential work and play a fundamental role in the development of our children.

“My Labour colleagues and I were glad to join with others in calling on the Government to value the early years sector in February, exactly one year after 30,000 people took to the streets of Dublin to highlight poor pay and conditions for early years professionals. The time for action is now.”