Date: 10 August 2006
UNISON welcomes national qualifications and job descriptions but
asks why no national pay?
UNISON, the union that represents Scotland's Nursery Nurses, today
welcomed the Report of the National Review of the Early Years and
Childcare Workforce published today, but expressed their disappointment
with the Executive's response to the report. In particular the refusal
to contemplate national pay, despite accepting national qualifications
and 'descriptions of the roles of the workforce'.
Carol Ball, Chair of UNISON's Nursery Nurse Working Party and a
member of the Review Group said; "It is disappointing that the Review
Group didn't go further down the road dealing with the implications
of the restructuring for pay and conditions in the sector. However
the report recognises the need to attract and retain qualified,
experienced staff, to raise the profile of the sector and that the
new qualification structures will mean we need higher pay to reward
workers for increasing responsibility and skill.
"It is deeply concerning therefore that the Executive seems to
have set its face against the obvious next step of a national framework
of grades related to the jobs and qualifications of early years
workers that, recent research* has shown, vary little from area
to area. This is also tacitly accepted in the Executive's response
with their acceptance of the common description of workers roles
within the sector."
The union welcomed the report's recognition of the challenging
and changing roles and responsibilities of the early years workforce;
that we need to recruit and retain the right people; and that its
biggest asset is its workforce.
In particular UNISON welcomes the Review Group's idea of a new
qualifications structure for the sector with highly qualified staff
at all levels (SCQF levels 9, 8 and 6/7), flexible methods of achieving
qualifications and a variety of factors that count towards them.
But we are very disappointed that Exec has not accepted the need
to recognise the qualifications levels needed below the lead level
at this stage.
Carol Ball said "We are ready to play our role in developing this
qualifications structure, but the failure to accept the recommendations
of the Review Group here will leave a qualifications gap between
SCQF 9 and SCQF 5: a gap that most nursery nurses are already ready
to step into. It is concerning that the expertise of the Review
Group on this important step has been at best postponed and at worst
Recent research* also shows that LA Nursery Nurses are already
carrying out the bulk of the roles and responsibilities that the
Review has identified. UNISON will be taking a detailed look at
the other recommendations in the Review Report and the Executive's
response and will be discussing with its Early Years members the
response we will be making on these and other points.
Note to Editors: The frustration of Scotland's Nursery Nurses
with their level of pay, led to a dispute with a range of all-out
and one day strikes which took place from May 2003 - June 2004.
It finished with Scotland's Councils offering significant upgradings
to nursery nurses, although different councils offered different
rates. *This research has been published on the UNISONScotland website.
For Further Information Please Contact: Carol Ball (Scottish
Chair NNWP) 07803 952 263(m) Dougie Black (Regional Officer) 07958
121 851(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w)
0771 558 3729(m)