Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has welcomed the potential establishment of a Joint Labour Committee (JLC) for the early learning and care (ELC) and school-age childcare (SAC) sector.

The recommendation follows an eight-week pre-JLC consultation process initiated by the Minister for Children in partnership with SIPTU and CSI/Ibec, which was independently chaired by Dr Kevin Duffy, former chair of the Labour Court.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson for Children, has welcomed the development, saying:

“Low pay is a familiar feature of our childcare system as a result of chronic underinvestment in the early years sector by governments past and present. The Joint Labour Committee, if established, will be a critical and necessary mechanism to address structural issues, including pay and conditions, within the sector. Addressing these issues will go some way towards the establishment of a more responsive childcare system that meets the needs of staff, providers, children and working families.

“However, this will only happen if the Government makes the necessary investment to follow through on this recommendation and other issues, including the public funding of early childhood education, affordability and quality.

“We have a long way to go when compared with our European counterparts. The Government must move on these measures in advance of our economy opening up again, when people returning to work will require flexible childcare.”

March 12, 2021

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