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Caithness News Bulletins November 2003

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A pay dispute involving 220 nursery staff employed by The Highland Council and who are members of the trade union, Unison, is close to being resolved as the result of a local settlement. The Unison Working Group leading the local negotiations has recommended acceptance of the offer and this will be considered formally by nursery nurse staff on Monday 17 November.

The Council has welcomed the progress made as it also provides more support for nursery classes and schools and ensures that the continual industrial action whereby the staff were boycotting certain duties will come to an end.

UNISON Regional Officer Donald Shiach said: “We have had very constructive discussions with Council officials, covering a wide range of issues affecting staff in Highland Council nurseries. The key discussions have centred round pay, but we have also been able to look at associated issues such as training and a career structure. I'm delighted to say we have felt able to recommend the package to our members working in Nursery units, and will be discussing the detail with them early next week prior to consulting them formally via a postal ballot. We hope to have all outstanding issues resolved by the end of November. In the meantime, as a token of goodwill, I'm pleased to say we have agreed to suspend all forms of industrial action within Highland Council nurseries with effect from Friday 14 November.”

Bruce Robertson, Highland Council’s Director of Education, Culture and Sport Service said: “I am delighted that it looks like there will be a productive outcome to the negotiations and thank Unison on their decision to end their industrial action, which will make a huge difference to our schools and hundreds of families across Highland.”