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Sunday 1 June 2003

UNISON calls for movement in nursery talks

UNISON, the union representing Scotland's nursery nurses in dispute, has called for 'a significant move' in talks between the two sides scheduled for Tuesday.

The union has finally received a request from employers at CoSLA for a meeting and has agreed. However, the union is clear that without an offer to resolve nursery nurses' immediate low pay problem, that strike action planned for the following weeks will continue.

Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Local Government said "We are pleased that, after a week and a bit of megaphone negotiations in the media, CoSLA have finally got around to contacting us direct. As we have always said, we are ready for talks at any time. However there will need to be a significant move towards a proper interim pay award for nursery nurses across Scotland if we are to settle this dispute."

UNISON is angry at what it sees as a campaign of misinformation by CoSlA, citing as misleading, statements that employers were 'not aware of the union's demands'; that they had no mechanism to deal with the dispute; and the constant media call to UNISON to get back round the table, despite no direct contact with the union.

"Nursery Nurses feel undervalued enough," Joe Di Paola said, "The kind of half-truths their employers have been resorting to, can only increase that frustration and alienation."

"CoSLA's own briefing on the dispute," he went on " Refers both to the original claim and to our claim for an iterim increase. In deed they say they have been asking for councils' views on this. How were they able to do this if they weren't aware of what nursery nurses wanted? And if they have no mechanism to deal with the dispute, why are we meeting? We agree with the First Minister that the dispute has gone on too long especially after 15 years of increasing duties and no recognition. We are calling on the employers to appreciate the valuable role that nursery nurses carry out and to offer tangible recognition of that."

As the two sides meet for the first time since the strikes started, the next wave of strikes will be starting. Nursery Nurses in Inverclyde, East, North and South Ayrshire, Orkney and Shetland start two days of action on Tuesday and Wednesday (4 and 5 June).

Unless there is a resolution, other areas of Scotland will continue the rolling programme of strikes across the country in future weeks, backed up by a boycott of additional duties.

The union will announce these areas on Tuesday should further action be necessary.


For Further Information Please Contact: Joe Di Paola (Scottish Organiser - Local Govt) - 0845 355 0845(o) 07990 505 698(m) Carol Ball (Chair-Nursery Nurse Working Party) - 0141-552 7069(o) 07803 952263(m) Angela Lynes (Scottish NEC member) 0141-552 7069(o) 07979 522 606(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)

Nursery Nurse Campaign pages