The Scottish Government should deliver
on its post referendum plans for more
affordable childcare now, reform the market
to upskill staff and improve their pay;
and recognise that accessibility and flexibility
are just as important as affordability
to working women.
Backing the Community motion, UNISON's
Carol Ball laid out the benefits of providing
high quality, flexible and affordable
childcare to children, families and the
"Increased resources are a must
if more children are to access early education
and childcare for up to ten hours a day,
five days a week, their experiences must
be wide and varied, responsive to their
all round development and this requires
significantly lower staffing ratios",
"Staff must hold appropriate qualifications
and UNISON’s view is that these
should not be below HNC level with access
to Continuous Professional Development."
For families, the current provision is
too fragmented, not flexible enough and
far too expensive. "Families pay
around 27% of their income on childcare.
Families are having to rely on informal
childcare because of cost. Grandparents
who have finished their working lives
now having to support their families.
"We want services provided by the
public sector properly funded and not
for profit. This is what families want
and deserve", said Carol.
Good childcare also benefits the economy.
"It makes good economic sense to
provide affordable early education and
childcare however employers should not
be left off the hook, parents want real
choices", said Carol.
"The increase to 600 hours early
education and childcare is to be welcomed
but it will have an impact on the workforce
who deliver these services - predominately
women who can have childcare needs of
their own. Our members raising issues
of increased workloads, longer working
hours, reduced time for planning and preparation
as a result.
"There is a pay gap of 50% in the
salaries of early years workers in the
public sector across Scotland. If the
workforce is to provide more flexible
childcare, their professional role has
to be recognised", added Carol.