LOW PAID education workers have begun the biggest indefinite strike in Britain for many years. The 5,000 nursery nurses walked out in three quarters of Scotland's local authorities on Monday. Liz McCulloch, a nursery nurse and Unison union steward in East Ayrshire, explains why:
'We love our job but we are sick of low pay while more and more responsibility is piled on us. After 15 years in the job I am on £13,896-which is the top rate. We want that to be the starting rate, with the top at around £18,000. Is that really too much to ask for people who do two years professional training and, as studies show, do a vital job in educating children at the stage that shapes their whole lives?
Two and a half years ago we put in claims around Scotland for regrading. We were told it had to be a national claim. So we put in for a national deal and now the same councillors are saying it has to be done locally. Meanwhile they are discussing a national settlement which will give themselves £25,000 a year. They think they can push this mainly women workforce around. All they've achieved is to make us more, dare I say it, militant.
My dad was a miner. We know about traditions of sticking together. My message to everyone is-give us your support.'