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Tue 17 Feb 2004

Nursery nurses register massive vote against low pay

Scotland's nursery nurses have voted overwhelmingly to take indefinite strike action as their two-year campaign for a Scotland-wide salary increase comes to boiling point.

Nursery Nurses voted by 81% to 19% to move to a campaign of all-out strike. The return was around 70%. Their pay has not been reviewed for 15 years and a basic grade nursery nurse earns as little as 10,000 pounds a year at the beginning of her career.

Despite months of irregular strikes, demonstrations, and a boycott of increases in duties - which have disrupted nursery education across Scotland -the employers organisation , CoSLA, has refused to talk to the nurses union, UNISON, about a rise in their Scottish grading.

Carol Ball, Chair of UNISON's Nursery nurses working party, said "It is clear that Scotland's nursery nurses are still together, still united and still want to achieve a proper wage across the country. It is disgraceful that employers still refuse to negotiate and would rather disrupt children's education and parent's working lives than pay Scottish nursery nurses for the job they do. Even at this late stage they should listen to what their nursery nurses are saying. UNISON has done so, where are CoSLA?"

Joe Di Paola (Scottish Organiser- Local Government) said, "The employers have recently admitted that they will not meet the job evaluation deadline that is a pre-requisite for local grading reviews. Will they now accept that they cannot delay dealing with the nursery nurses 15-year-old claim through this mechanism and deal with it at Scottish-level?"

Angela Lynes, Leader of UNISON's negotiators, and Chair of the union's Industrial Action Committee, said "This magnificent ballot result gives the lie to anyone who suggests that this dispute is orchestrated by union officials. The nursery nurses have spoken. And spoken clearly. They deserve to have their pay increased and they want that increase to be applied across Scotland."

UNISON will now take this result to an early meeting of its Scottish Branches to plan the indefinite action.


Note to Editors: Basic Grade Nursery nurses are paid on a scale that starts at around 10,000 pounds a year. They are claiming a rise to a starting salary of around 14,000 pounds per year. UNISON undertook the ballot to reaffirm the mandate for industrial action after 10 months of the dispute, despite not being required to under employment legislation.

In a 68% return, the percentage voting 'Yes' to the question, "Are you prepared to take indefinite strike action?" was 80.7%; the percentage voting "No' was 19.3%.

For Further Information Please Contact: Joe Di Paola (Scottish Organiser - Local Govt) 0845 355 0845(w) 07990 505698(m) Carol Ball (Chair Nursery Nurse WP) 07803 952263 (m) Angela Lynes (Chair - UNISON Negotiators) 07979 522606(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)


Nursery Nurses minisite



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