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24 February 2003

Nursery nurses take step nearer strike.

Scotland's 5,000 Nursery nurses took a step nearer strike action today in their fight for a review of their status and pay. Their union, UNISON announced today that a delegate meeting of nursery nurses at the weekend had voted overwhelmingly to request a ballot on industrial action.

Scottish Nursery Nurses have been campaigning for a review of their jobs for two years. They claim that the low pay and status of nursery nurses is jeopardising the Government's nursery education plans.

Carol Ball, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Nursery Nurse Working Party said: "Nursery N urses are rapidly coming to the end of their tether. After pressing Scotland's employers to sit down with us to look at the issue we have been handed a report that takes us precisely nowhere. We feel we have wasted six months."

Scottish Local Authorities, first claimed that grading of nursery nurses was at individual council's discretion, then agreed to set up a Scottish-wide working party when UNISON put claims in to every Scottish council. But the report of the working party sidesteps the crucial issue of nursery nurses pay and grading. UNISON is looking for a review of the status, career structure and pay of nursery nurses across Scotland.

Carol Ball said "Nursery nurses are a key component in the Government's plans to increase the range and importance of pre-school education. Without recognition of that fact by the government and the employers, the future of the strategy is jeopardised."

The union will now have more detailed discussions on the form of action proposed before setting the ballot process in motion.


For Further Information Please Contact: Carol Ball (Scottish Chair - NN Wking Pty) 07803 952 263(m) Angela Lynes (Scottish Chair - Local Govt) 0141-552 7069(o) 07979 522 606(m) Joe Di Paola (Scottish Organiser Local Govt) 0845 355 0845(w) 07790 505698(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)