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NURSERY NURSES: LOCAL NEGOTIATION ONLY WAY TO END DISPUTE

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Convention of Scottish Local Authorities president Pat Watters today told a meeting of the Scottish Joint Council t...
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities president Pat Watters today told a meeting of the Scottish Joint Council that there is still a clear way ahead to resolve the current nursery nurse dispute - local negotiation.

Mr Watters also reiterated at the meeting just how much Scottish councils regret the adverse effect Unison's pointless strike action is having on the parents and children affected.

Mr Watters said: 'The only way of bringing this dispute to a successful conclusion is by local negotiation. We have provided a national framework for these negotiations to take place there is now nothing else we can do.

'This whole issue is now a matter for local determination and instead of engaging in damaging strike action I would encourage Unison to enter into local discussions as soon as possible. Every council in Scotland is ready to sit down with the unions and reach a settlement and I understand that half are already in discussions with trade unions at a local level.

'Unison's unwillingness to allow local discussions to take place and their insistence on peddling complete mis-information about pay cuts is a disservice to their members and a complete distortion of the facts.

'Let me make it clear strike action will achieve nothing. There is no agenda to cut the pay of nursery nurses, £9.33 an hour is an increase whatever way you look at it or they try to spin it.

'Our proposal would have meant a minimum pay rise of 6.7 per cent, with others receiving up to 12.5 per cent, backdated to 1 April, 2003 with no change to their current working arrangements.'

Mr Watters concluded: 'This would have been on top of a general increase of 4 per cent paid already paid to all nursery nurses in April of this year.

'As this is well in advance of any pay increase for other local government workers in Scotland I do not think we can be accused of treating nursery nurses with contempt. Indeed I would say that the opposite is true and it is a mark of just how high ly local government values its nursery nurses.

'To stop the scare-mongering and to see what is really on offer the unions need to get round the table with their employers in each local authority area. It is the only road ahead.'

NOTES

1. Nursery nurses in Scotland would have received a minimum pay rise of 6.7 per cent, with others receiving up to 12.5 per cent, backdated to 1 April, 2003 with no change to their current working arrangements under a proposal from employers - but rejected by trade unions.

2. This follows on from a general increase of 4 per cent, which they have had already from the same date, giving an overall package for this financial year of 10.7 per cent and 16.5 per cent.

* Most recent Unisonstatement.

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