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Tue 24 Feb 2004

Nursery nurses action to start on I March

The indefinite strike action voted for by Scotland's nursery nurses will start on Monday 1 Mar 2004.The employers have a week to reopen Scottish talks.

A meeting of Nursery Nurse representatives, meeting today (Tuesday) in Glasgow agreed the start date following the overwhelming 4 to 1 ballot result for indefinite industrial action. Nursery Nurses voted by 81% to 19% to move to a campaign of all-out strike after the employers - CoSLA - failed to respond to the campaign of one-day strikes, lobbying, boycotting additional duties and public pressure. The ballot return was around 70%.

Nursery Nurses' pay has not been reviewed for nearly 16 years and most basic grade nursery nurses earn as little as 10,000 pounds a year at the beginning of their career - moving up to 13,800 pounds a year after ten years service.

The union is looking for a rise in this basic grade to 14 - 18,000 pounds. The union agreed to implement its usual policy of emergency exemptions, asking branches to agree with local employers, cover to ensure no child was put at risk by the action.

Carol Ball, Chair of UNISON's Nursery nurses working party, said "There has been a year of industrial action of various types, which has disrupted nursery education across Scotland. Faced with the refusal of CoSLA negotiate with nursery nurses representatives about the level of their Scottish grade, nursery nurses reluctantly feel that they have no alternative, but to take all-out strike. 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.

"No nursery nurse wants to disrupt the education of any children in their care. We know how important the work we do is in children's development. But we cannot be taken for granted any longer. We have argued, discussed, boycotted work, taken action short of all-out strike but the employers have met all this with a brick wall. We urge parents to continue the pressure on their councillors, asking them to tell CoSLA to reopen Scottish talks. This is the only way that this dispute is likely to be resolved."

Joe Di Paola (Scottish Organiser- Local Government) said, "The employers yesterday discussed a document that admitted that the route to a settlement in this dispute lay through a Scotland- wide regrading and have recently admitted that they will not meet the job evaluation deadline that is a pre-requisite for local nursery nurse gradings. It is beyond belief that they would rather force nursery nurses out on strike than deal fairly with their claim. This dispute is not just about nursery nurses pay, it is about the future of the nursery service."


Note to Editors: 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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