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17 October 2003

Employers refusal to negotiate prolongs nursery nurse strikes

UNISON, the union representing Scotland's local authority nursery nurses, today condemned the persistent refusal of CoSLA to seriously negotiate new grades for Scottish Nursery Nurses, and said that this was prolonging the six-month old dispute.

UNISON said that the combination of an inadequate proposed 'recommendation' and a refusal to discuss any further Scottish offer meant that nursery nurses had been forced to intensify their series of strikes.

These strikes will take place at different times in different authorities, and could last as long as a week in some authorities.

The next wave begins on Monday 20 October. Angela Lynes, (Chair of Scotland's union negotiators, and chair of UNISON"s national Industrial Action Committee) said

"The reality of the employers proposal is that isn't an offer at all. It is merely a recommendation that no council has to adopt. Even if they did it will still leave the vast majority of nursery nurses earning less than £15,000 per year. CoSLA are now refusing to discuss the issue any further and trying to wriggle out of their responsibilities. Nursery nurses are currently paid on a Scottish grade, have submitted and discussed with CoSLA a Scottish claim, and deserve a Scottish settlement. Most of the increases in duties that nursery nurses have undertaken stem from Scottish wide directives. The employers know all this, but seem happy to provoke more action and increase the misery for children and parents."

This week of action will close nurseries in the following councils: East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire , West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, Dundee, Falkirk - All Week. Glasgow City - All week (except the south West Quadrant , on strike Tue 21 - Mon 27 Oct inclusive). Renfrewshire Wed 22 - Tue 28 October inclusive) On Tuesday 21 Oct

Glasgow Nursery Nurses will lobby the Policy and Resources Committee of Glasgow City Council from 12noon - 1.15pm, Glasgow City Chambers, to urge them to put pressure on CoSLA to come back to the negotiating table.

UNISON is worried that a break up of Scottish-wide pay could lead to a 'social - work' style situation, with councils offering different incentives to attract nursery nurses. They accuse CoSLA of a blinkered approach.

Margaret Ferris from UNISON's Scottish Nursery NursesWorking Party said "CoSLA have constantly tried to avoid dealing with this at a Scottish level. It is a huge disappointment to nursery nurses to have to intensify their action. We know it hurts our children and their parents. But nursery nurses are clear that the job they do is the same in West Dunbartonshire as it is in South Lanarkshire or Falkirk. It is the blank refusal of the employers to discuss a Scottish-wide grade and structure for nursery nurses, that has directly led to this escalation. "


For Further Information Please Contact: Angela Lynes (Chair UNISON's Scot. Negs.) 0141-552 7069(o) 07979 522606 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m) Margaret Ferris (Nursery nurse Working Group) 01389 730005(h) Bill McAllister (Regional Officer) 0845 355 0845(w)