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revitaliseNURSERY NURSES DISPUTE - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

  1. Why are nursery nurses taking action? What do you think it will achieve?

    Nursery Nurses' Pay has not been reviewed for 15 years. The role has changed considerably with no commensurate pay. We want to highlight to our members that we are serious about achieving our claim and to addressing the inequalities that exist at the moment.

  2. What chance have you given employers/the Scottish Executive to address their claim?

    The claim was lodged with the employers 18 months ago and then with the individual councils over a year ago. We have petitioned the Scottish Executive calling for a review of Early Years Education and Childcare and finally agreed to participate in a joint working group to progress the claim. All to no avail.

  3. Why did UNISON walk away from the joint working party after it reported?

    UNISON feel the employers were using the working part as a stalling tactic as they reiterated their original position of 18 months ago, that pay for Nursery Nurses would be determined through Job Evaluation. They also reported that Nursery Nurses in schools/classes would be part time employees, with the potential loss of pay and pension rights.

    The Employers' 'sham job-evaluation' should be exposed.

    (a) This is an exercise to justify a figure rather than a genuine attempt to review nursery nurses jobs.

    (b) The job evaluation scheme has been constantly put off since it was originally agreed. The Employers' last request to the unions was to delay implementation till 2004. How can they now say they can use it?

    (c) The proposal was rejected by the unions because:
    (i) there was no offer of any kind of payment to deal with the 15 years of nursery nursing 'on the cheap'.
    (ii) It does not deal with the career structure side of the claim.

  4. What does a nursery nurse earn? Per hour/per week/annually

    An average nursery nurse earns £7.87/£257/£13,361

  5. Isn't it an easy job? Doesn't the job satisfaction make up for lower pay?

    Nursery Nurses train for 2 years to gain appropriate qualifications to deliver the highest quality Early Years Education and Childcare. The job is a complex one; the range of skills, knowledge and understanding used varies to meet the individual needs of children.

    Examples - Early literacy, numeracy, equal opportunities, Special Educational Needs, preferred learning styles. The list is endless!!

  6. Employers say they have no problems in filling nursery nurses vacancies. Why do you need more money?

    NOT TRUE. There is a high turnover of nursery nurses and many would earn more working in a supermarket. Establishments continually work short staffed because supply nursery nurses are very scarce.

  7. Aren't you just there to help the teachers? Are they supporting your action?

    We work as part of a professional team and many Day Nurseries don't have teachers. Nursery Nurses plan, deliver, assess and evaluate appropriate activities for children to support their learning and care. Most teachers recognise the professional role of nursery nurses and support our claim for appropriate pay levels.

  8. What action are you planning for the future?

    A mixture of strike action and a boycott of a range of duties that has not been recognised in our current pay levels.

  9. How will this hit:

    a) local authority employers
    They will not be able to provide the same level of service.

    b) Parents
    Parents will have to find alternative childcare.

    c) children?
    Children will receive a disrupted service and the quality of provision will by reduced. We wish to state that our claim is a fair and just claim and parents support, recognise and value staff and their claim.

  10. Every mum could do your job - why do you need qualifications/professional status?

    There is a great deal of evidence to support the value of Early Years Education and Quality Childcare in giving children the best start in life. Only the lack of recognition in terms of status and pay for staff working in the sector leads to this perception that anyone can do it. Appropriate qualifications give employees the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver this service.

  11. Don't you get paid more than private nursery staff?

    YES! Nursery Nurses in private nurseries are poorly paid and many are unqualified. Education and Childcare should not be provided for profit. Very little private nurseries would be used by Social Services to provide places for families in crisis so the service provided by Local Authorities can be vastly different.

  12. What is wrong with allowing each local council to decide its level of nursery service and how to employ and pay nursery nurses?

    ALL nursery nurses across 32 councils agreed the job descriptions and pay levels attached to the claim, recognising both as realistic. Our employers state that locally they wish to set jobs and pay levels but have not given any examples of these different jobs. Our remit adheres to the National Care Standards and National Curriculum guidelines.

  13. If nursery nurses should be paid on a Scottish-wide grade, why are you not stopping some local branches setting local deals to pay their nursery nurses

    UNISON believes that nursery nurses should be paid national grades. The timescale for progressing this has been lengthy, leading to some employers trying to address this issue locally. As previously stated the remit for nursery nurses is determined by national policies therefore national grades should apply. All 32 branches are involved in this dispute.

  14. Don't you think that a rise of £4,000 a year is an irresponsible amount to be claiming at this time?

    (1) We shouldn't undervalue our children's education. If we condemn nursery nurses into a low pay ghetto that is what we will be doing. We are already faced by nursery nurses leaving because they cannot afford to continue and difficulty in recruiting/training new nursery nurses.

    (2) We are talking of a top rate of £18,000 per year - a starting salary of £14,000. This is hardly a king's ransom. Particularly for a job that requires 2 years training and has had a huge amount of extra responsibilities loaded onto it in the last 15 years. Nursery Nurses now plan, assess, evaluate, observe, record and monitor every aspect of each individual child's learning, ensuring that they access a broad, varied, stimulating, thought provoking, and fun pre-five curriculum. This is demanded by documents and policies such as local Starting Points, Scottish National Curriculum guidelines and National Care Standards. For this role their salary does not reflect their skills and expertise.

    (3) It doesn't even make up for the last 15 years when nothing has been done.

    (4) Many nursery nurses are currently having to claim benefits. Even if the claim is met in full some may still have to claim.

  15. Why are you hitting children's education by taking action? Are you just using them as political footballs?

    No, we have done all we can to avoid action. Original claim submitted more than 18 months ago. The employers tried to fob us off by sending us back to local councils then, when we submitted claims to each of them COSLA came back and suggested a working party.

    We went along with that and at the end of that the Employers went back to square one and suggested local councils set their own grades! We are also staggering action across the country to ensure that children are as little affected as possible whilst ensuring that the public are told where action will be as soon as practicable.

  16. Do you think the public is prepared to pay higher council tax so your members can get bigger salaries?

    1) YES! The level of support from parents has been fantastic. They are genuinely shocked when they find out how little we earn, We are sure that this applies to the rest of the public.

    2) UNISON commissioned a poll (carried out by System Three) recently (April 23 -29). Nearly 90% of Scots said they thought public services would not be delivered successfully unless staff are paid a fair wage and treated fairly. (67% agreed STRONGLY with that).

    It is quite clear that people do not think that between 10-14,000 pounds/an average of 13,000 pounds plus a year is a fair wage for professionals who care for and educate their children.

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