Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/345/5746

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 May 2004

Nursery Nurses: 

Anger As Unison Leadership Backs Down

AFTER EIGHT weeks of strike action, nursery nurses were left feeling outraged and betrayed by the decision of the national UNISON leadership to abandon the fight for a national pay and conditions deal for nursery nurses and thereby attempt to end the strike.

Philip Stott, CWI Scotland

On 20 April, without any consultation with the 4,000 nursery nurses still on strike, Scottish UNISON officials proposed at a delegate meeting of those branches still in dispute that all strike action be suspended from 23 April.

While this was defeated, the leadership's fall-back position was to force through a vote that insisted that nursery nurses had to sign local deals.

Within hours, and even before the majority of nursery nurses had heard the news, UNISON leaders had gone to the press to announce the decision. Nursery nurses' mass meetings in the days following this betrayal expressed seething anger at the decision. Many felt utterly let down by the union leadership.

Determination

The meetings saw many nursery nurses in tears. But it was also met with a determination not to allow eight weeks of strike action to end without something to show from all that sacrifice. Resolutions of condemnation of the national UNISON officials are now coming in from branches of UNISON in response.

As we go to press a number of areas have now signed or are likely to sign local agreements. In most if not all cases there have been significant concessions from the employers.

In North Lanarkshire a meeting of 300 nursery nurses voted narrowly to accept a deal that saw their hourly wage rise to 10.13 an hour.

Significantly the employers also agreed to pay 1,200 in a lump sum to all nursery nurses. This effectively means that nursery nurses will get back what they lost in wages during the strike. Even then the agreement was only passed by 166 votes to 115.

Many nursery nurses felt, following the decision of the union leadership, that they had no choice to sign. "It's something but not enough" was the feeling expressed by most of them.

Glasgow 

In Glasgow a mass meeting of over 700 nursery nurses made it clear they would not be going back unless an acceptable offer was made by the employers.

Nursery nurses in Edinburgh massively voted to reject the deal. In Fife they were so enraged at the offer they were made, the nursery nurses marched down to the council offices to hand back the documents containing the council's proposals!

In Dundee, management hoped to take advantage of the anger and a certain demoralisation that had set in to force nursery nurses to sign a deal by midday on 23 April. If not, the deal was off the table they claimed. "We won't be blackmailed or bullied into signing something until we have discussed it in our time" was the comment of one nursery nurse which summed up the mood of many.

Jim McFarlane, the chair of UNISON in Dundee and a member of the International Socialists (CWI Scotland) proposed that unless more time was given to consider the deal it should be rejected. He was the only branch official to put a recommendation.

A member of the Socialist Workers Party, who is also the branch service and conditions officer, did not make a call to throw the offer out. Nursery nurses voted narrowly to reject the deal.

Concessions 

Lo and behold the council then decided to keep the offer on the table. More concessions have been won by the nursery nurses since then and as we go to press they are still on strike.

This fight has from the start been about low pay and recognition of the job that nursery nurses do. Improvements in pay have been won as a result of the militant and determined action of nursery nurses. They have set a benchmark for other workers to follow. More than 2,000 nursery nurses are still on strike.

But wider lessons need to be urgently discussed by nursery nurses. 

These include the need for a fighting leadership at a local and national level, the need to build effective solidarity action and above all the vital necessity to ensure that the phenomenal talents and energy of the nursery nurses be incorporated to help build a more combative and clear-sighted workers' movement.

 

 

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 1 May 2004:

Iraq: End The Bloodshed

Iraq: Bush's Bloody 'Ambassador'


Socialism

Socialism 2004

Building A Socialist International

2004 May Day Greetings


Socialist Party campaigns

ID Cards - Working Class People Will Pay The Price

Anger As Unison Leadership Backs Down


International socialist news and analysis

Shell - Profiting From Misery

South Africa 10 Years On


 

Home   |   The Socialist 1 May 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Unison:

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

triangleSurrey County Council staff on collision course over pay freeze

triangleEscalate summer strike wave into coordinated action to defeat the pay cap

Nurses:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleStrike to save our NHS!

triangleBerlin hospital strike

triangle"I've been placed in charge of wards without defibrillators"

Nursery:

triangleWomen: fight for equality, fight for socialism

triangleStop Leeds college nursery closures

triangleThem & Us

Scotland:

triangleWhere is Scotland going?

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Is the National Question finished in Scotland & Wales?

CWI:

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

Strike:

triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2