Scotland: Nursery nurses vote for all out action

After eight months of industrial action by Scotland’s nursery nurses, and with no end in sight, UNISON are preparing to ballot to increase the action to an all out indefinite strike from March.

In a massive respone 81% of nursery nurses backed an all out strike from 1st March.

CoSLA, the local authority employers, have still refused to come back to the negotiating table and discuss a way forward.

Two one-day strikes are planned for February and unless CoSLA come forward with an acceptable offer there will be a vote for all-out action.

I asked Nursery Nurses how they felt about that.

Tracey Clayton said: "Scottish nursery nurses will not give up; we want recognition and pay to reflect an ever changing job".

"Unfortunately time is running out. This national dispute has run on for too long. Although indefinite action is not the route we wanted, especially for all the children and parents who have tirelessly supported us throughout, it has been to long coming."

Another nursery nurse said:

"Yes there will be more action. The majority of Nursery Nurses in my area voted at a mass meeting to take indefinite action. It was the only way to move this dispute forward, single days haven’t worked neither has selective action and we have been left with no option but too take indefinite all out strike".

She went on to say: "We started this fight to show our professionalism but now we wonder if people remember who we are."

The majority of Scotland’s Nursery nurses are women who are educating our young children, women who are caring for our young children and women who for a number of years have been forgotten in the so-called march for "education, education, education."

Its about time COSLA drew this fight to a close give these women their fair pay claim and end the disruption in our nursery schools for both the nursery nurses and the children.

We need to remember that this time in our children’s lives is precious they will never again have pre school experience and for the most vulnerable in our society they don’t have the time to stand on the sidelines.

Give the Nursery Nurses their full national pay claim and let them do the job they are trained to do, to teach and care for our young children and earn a salary that rightly proves to them and the public at large how much we value our children and their educators.

Mass meetings of nursery nurses in all 28 local council areas still in dispute should be organised to help build for a big vote for action.

Meetings of parents and carers must also be urgently arranged to help maintain the support we have had from them.

A decade and a half of low-pay has left a fully qualified nursery nurse after eight years of experience with a maximum wage of £13,800.

Unison have put forward a national claim for all nursery nurses for a pay scale beginning at £17,340 and rising to £21,700 with a clear job description and career structure.

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