“Our days, we live them like a continuous marathon. » Lucie* has been an early childhood educator in Grenoble since 2017 and every year, she sees her working conditions deteriorate. Mobilized alongside early childhood staff, on strike this Thursday, October 6, she is demanding more resources from the public authorities for nurseries because for her, as we know, “everything is played between 0 and 6 years old”. This summer already, the decree of July 29 relating to professionals authorized to practice in the mode of reception of young children had finished setting fire to the powder, by authorizing 15% of non-qualified personnel within the structures.
“When I started working in 1988, the rate of supervision by qualified professionals was 70%. Today, we are at 40%”, deplores the secretary general of the National Union of Early Childhood Professionals (SNPPE), Véronique Escames. For the former childcare assistant, taking care of young children requires real training: “Just because you’ve been a mother doesn’t mean you can work in a community. Working in a crèche means working with noise all day long”, she insists. Same observation for Julie Marty Pichon, spokesperson for the collective No babies at the locker! : “The conditions in which we operate have deteriorated, we are asking to return to at least 50% qualified personnel. »
“We put babies under stress”
Teams that already work just-in-time must now train new staff for the first 120 hours of their activity. For Lucie, the lack of trained staff has consequences on the development of children and on staff: ” If we do not give the tools to new educators, it is to send them to the slaughterhouse”she warns.
The movement denounces the lack of trained personnel and also asks, and above all, for a better rate of supervision. In 2010, the collective No babies at the locker! was already upwind when the Morano decree was published, which aimed to increase the rate of supervision of babies from 5 to 6 for a supervisor.
Still according to Julie Marty Pichon, also president of the National Federation of Early Childhood Educators (Fneje), the current rate of 5 babies for a supervisor does not allow for qualitative support for the child: “Being two for ten babies is not normal. We put babies under stress, and we can’t tell families we’re doing our best when they entrust us with their dearest loved one. »
Émilie Philippe, also spokesperson for the collective, confirms: “It’s not enough to respect the rhythm of baby bottles, crying and dirty diapers. » Faced with recruitment difficulties, the unions denounce a lack of places in training centers and a lack of attractiveness in early childhood professions due to low salaries.
“We are waiting for action”
In the field, the difficulty of the job is also widely reported: “Carrying the children, the constant noise, it generates physical fatigue, back problems”, says Lucy. For fair recognition of their work, early childhood staff are demanding a salary increase of around €180. Although the number of cities concerned by the mobilization is unprecedented, the unions remain cautious, in “waiting for action” from the government.