Scotland's Nursery Nurse Dispute - Update
23 September 2003
This briefing paper is provides an update on
the current Nursery Nurse dispute, and gives background information
for the Scottish Parliament debate of Carolyn Leckie MSP's motion
S2M-334 Nursery Nurses taking place on Wednesday 24 September.
UNISON Scotland represents the majority of nursery
nurses in schools, classes and day care in Scotland.
Why are Nursery Nurses taking action?
- The job of nursery nurse has not been reviewed for 15 years
- A nursery nurse currently earns around £13,000, (the current
salary ranges between £10,000 to £13,800).
- The role of a nursery nurse has gained significant new and
increased responsibilities given policies on National Care Standards,
Scottish National Curriculum guidelines, and local Starting
- The Executive's own statistics published in July 2003 showed
that the number of local authority pre-school education places
has increased by 4% between January 2002 and January 2003, but
the number of local authority staff providing that education
had decreased by 13% in the same period. These statistics underline
the increasing workloads and demands placed on these staff.
What is the UNISON Claim?
- To address 15 years of under payment, recognise the increased
responsibilities, remits and professionalism of Nursery Nurses.
- Develop a generic job description
- Create a clear 4 tier career structure for Nursery Nurses.
- To put Nursery Nurses on the local government pay system SCP
23 – 30 (£17,340 / £21,732), for most Nursery Nurses working
term time hours this equate to around £18,500.
- Implement a 35 hour working week.
- Ensure equal opportunities
- Give full employment status – including pension rights.
What chance have UNISON given employers to address
- The claim was lodged with the employers CoSLA nearly 2 years
ago and then with individual councils in February 2002, over
18 months ago. We have petitioned the Scottish Parliament calling
for a review of Early Years Education and Childcare and finally
agreed to participate in a CoSLA joint working group to progress
the claim, all to no avail.
Why did UNISON leave the joint working party?
- UNISON feel the employers were using the working party as
a stalling tactic as they reiterated their original position
of 2 years ago that pay for Nursery Nurses would be determined
through Job Evaluation. They also said that Nursery Nurses in
schools and classes would be part time employees with the potential
loss of pay and pension rights.
Why did UNISON reject the report of CoSLA's
Technical Working Group?
UNISON is clear that this was a "sham job evaluation".
- This is an exercise to justify a figure rather than a genuine
attempt to review nursery nurses jobs.
- The job evaluation scheme has been constantly put off since
it was originally agreed. The employers' last request to the
unions was to delay implementation until 2004. How can they
now say they can use it?
Why did UNISON reject the CoSLA "offer" of 12
- This was not an offer. CoSLA stated that the proposals from
its technical working group could only be recommended
to councils, it is totally reliant on local councils' discretion.
- The "£18,000 offer" is disingenuous. CoSLA's £18,000 in reality
works out as a maximum of £15,500 for a "fully competent
nursery nurse" working the usual term time pattern.
- CoSLA fail to say who will decide that a nursery nurse is
- CoSLA are in effect proposing less than £15,000 for most nursery
nurses working in schools and classes in Scotland.
- It fails to deliver an effective and appropriate career structure
for nursery nurses.
- There is nothing in the "offer" for heads and deputes, and
it could also lead to local management using the proposed thresholds
in payscales to create a two-tier workforce.
Nursery Nurses Support
- UNISON's Nursery Nurses campaign has been supported by parents,
teachers, other unions and elected representatives from Labour,
SNP, Liberal Democrats, Greens and SSP.
- Scottish Parliament motions have been tabled by Margaret Jamieson,
Carolyn Leckie and Fiona Hyslop which have received support
from a cross party group of MSPs. Carolyn Leckie's motion is
to be debated on Wednesday 24 September 2003.
Joe Di Paola –
Dave Watson -
@ The P&I Team
14 West Campbell St
Tel 0845 355 0845
Fax 0141-307 2572