Friday, 28 May 2004

Can't praise nursery nurses highly enough

Nursery nurses have been an example to every other trade unionist throughout this dispute with their good nature, solid organisation and real commitment to the future of early years care and education.

They have achieved a 10 point pay rise, a substantial lump sum and one in three can go on to higher grades. That is the best I have seen achieved by any group in the last 20 years.

It is a disgrace that the council could not recognise that just one more pay point would have sent people back with confidence in their council. But now the bad taste will stay with nursery nurses for a long time.

In addition to the comments I have made in the press release, I would like to record my thanks for the dignity and support shown by the nursery nurses. Sometimes that has felt wonderful and sometimes it has felt worrying as we failed to achieve for them what we would have wanted.

That dignity and unity shone through today. I was extremely moved by the gift the nursery nurse meeting gave me and the expressions of goodwill inside and outside the meeting. Just one more example of how this group of workers, far from thinking of themselves, have gone through this dispute thinking of others - not least the children they serve. There are not many in this whole saga that can say that.

We are making arrangements to meet again to finalise outstanding issues and to have a social and some fun at last.

To all nursery nurses who stuck so solidly together and who worked so hard with such dignity - you have done so much for the future of your service and thanks from all the branch officers, stewards and staff

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