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6th June 2003

Highland Nursery Nurses to strike

In excess of 100 Nursery Nurses employed by Highland Council will be on strike on Wednesday 11th June and Thursday 12th June as part of the next wave of strike action by the public sector union UNISON. The likely effect of the action is that over 50 nursery schools across the area will be closed on both days. In addition a lobby of the Highland Council meeting on Thursday 12th June is being planned for around 10am as the council meeting begins at 10.30am. After the lobby nursery nurses will attend a rally which it is hoped will be addressed by a member of UNISON's Scottish Nursery Nurse Working Group.

"We hope this action will bring home to councillors the importance of the work carried out by nursery nurses in the pre-school education sector. We want direct and meaningful talks with our employers that address our claim and we want a fair basic wage and career structure for nursery nurses across Scotland. After 15 years, we are completely behind this claim", said Janice Hardacre, the Nursery Nurse Lead Steward.

These two days are part of the current programme of strike action in different areas of Scotland over the month of June. Other areas of Scotland will be carrying on the rolling programme of strikes across the country in future weeks, backed up by a boycott of additional duties.

"We have spread the strike across the country to keep disruption to children and parents in any one area to a minimum. We recognise the inconvenience cannot be avoided but we know parents understand that this is not just about pay - it is also about the future of pre-school education and care. COSLA have had two years to respond to the claim which was lodged in response to the substantial additional duties which nursery nurses have taken on board without any additional payment in the last 15 years. COSLA must recognise that only by placing a substantial offer on the table that we can consult on with our members can this dispute be resolved. Suggestions that a core job description and grade be developed are too little, too late. ", said Munro Ross, UNISON Highland Branch Convener.

He added "A request has been made to the Convener of Highland Council councillor Mrs Alison Magee for a small deputation to address the council meeting on Thursday to put the case on behalf of our members. A reply is still awaited."

UNISON commissioned a poll (carried out by System Three) recently (April 23 -29). Nearly 90% of Scots said they thought public services would not be delivered successfully unless staff are paid a fair wage and treated fairly. (67% agreed STRONGLY with that). It is quite clear that people do not think that between £10-14,000/an average of £13,000 plus a year is a fair wage for professionals who care for and educate their children.

NOTE: The UNISON Nursery Nurse ballot brought a bigger turnout than the Scottish Parliament elections. In a 64% return over 90% voted to take strike action and action short of strike action.

Notes to the Editor Extra duties that are being boycotted include, observation, recording, assessment and evaluation processes, planning and development tasks, student training, all work outwith normal working hours and all clerical, janitorial and cleaning tasks.

For further information contact Munro Ross, Branch Convener, Tel. 07802422243
Janice Hardacre, Nursery Nurse Lead Steward, Tel. 0777906753 UNISON Highland Branch 53 Shore Street, Inverness, IV11NF

Nursery Nurse Campaign pages