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Monday 10 May 2004

Big councils prolong nursery dispute with low pay offers

Scotland's largest councils are proving to be the main obstacles to a Scottish-wide resolution of the long-running nursery nurses dispute, says the nursery nurses union UNISON today.

Since the union moved to discuss local deals three weeks ago, nine councils have settled with their nursery nurses and five councils have had their local offers rejected, six others are still in negotiations.

Seven out of the nine councils to have settled offered an hourly rate of £10.10 or more - bringing to fourteen the total number of Scottish councils who have settled above this figure. Four out of the five who have had deals rejected have only offered £9.83 or less. They include Glasgow, Edinburgh and Renfrewshire councils.

Many of the councils who have settled have also offered back-dating or lump sums to recognise the fact that nursery nurses have already been carrying out additional duties for some time before the dispute.

"This shows where the real problem lies." said Joe Di Paola, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Local Government, "Scotland's largest councils are refusing to recognise the value of the work nursery nurses do. Despite the lead being given by responsible authorities, councils like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, West Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire seem to want to get nursery services on the cheap. Offering less than £10 per hour for the valuable job that nursery nurses do shows how little these councils care about both the nursery nurses themselves and the service they deliver for our children."

The union called on authorities still in dispute to make offers that reflect the jobs nursery nurses do.

"How can these authorities - or indeed the ones who are yet to make offers - justify their attitude." Said Carol Ball, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Nursery Nurse Working Group.

"We know that the extra duties added to the job have been all due to initiatives that apply to nursery nurses across council boundaries. The job of a nursery nurse in East Dunbartonshire is not 63p an hour more valuable than one in West Dunbartonshire, or Glasgow. Maybe this is the reason that CoSLA refused to agree a national grade - so the big councils could try and bully their nursery nurses into taking lower rates than they are worth."

UNISON continues its support for striking nursery nurses where deals have not been agreed. This means that nursery services in councils still in dispute, continue to be disrupted for the tenth week running.


For Further Information Please Contact: Joe DiPaola(Scottish Organiser - Local Govt) 0845 355 0845(w) 07990 505 698(m) Carol Ball (Chair - Nursery Nurses Working Party) 07803 952 263 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)


Nursery Nurse minisite


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