Research Projects

Colette Saunders

Graduated 2020

Trade Unionisation of Irelands Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce

An explicit aim of this research question is to identify whether or not unionisation is needed in order to improve the pay and working conditions of Irelands Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) workforce.  Much has been written about professionalisation of the sector over the last decade but relatively little has been done to ameliorate the poor pay and working conditions which characterise it.  This topic was chosen because research has shown how early years practitioners in other countries enjoy much improved pay and working conditions, once unionised.  An essential determinant of quality in relation to child related services has been proven to be quality pay.  So, what needs to happen within the Irish ECCE sector in order to improve the conditions of what has been described by some as an overburdened, under resourced sector? Is unionisation needed?.  To explore this topic a qualitative research approach will be adopted incorporating elements of action research. Such an approach will provide focus group and interview participants with opportunities to provide subjective responses rich in detail about the human side of this social issue as experienced by them.