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Parents won't cross the line

A Glasgow scheme to provide extra places at some nurseries during the strike backfired after parents refused to cross the picket line.

On the third day of the Unison action, eight parents turned up with their children at Newhurst nursery in Easterhouse after being telephoned by the school the previous day and told that it would be open. A teacher had been brought in from another school to lower the adult:child ratio.

Following a friendly discussion with nursery nurses on the picket line, they all went home after expressing support for the strikers. Diane Lawson, mother of four-year-old Kyle, said "they do a brilliant job and deserve more".

She added: "I came along today because I thought the strike had been called off. Now I won't be bringing Kyle back until the nurses return to work."

Amanda Arkell, one of the nurses on the picket line, said she regretted that parents and children were inconvenienced but felt there was no alternative to all-out action and that a national agreement was essential.

"It is a shame that it has come to this but we feel strongly that we do a good job as early years teachers and this needs to be recognised. We do not want a free-for-all among people who are doing the same job," she said.

The city has taken a tough line against strikers, warning them about the effects on their pay and pensions and suspending sick leave. They have been banned from entering their nurseries without consent.

George Gardner, depute director of education, said that if the strike continues beyond April 2, "no payment will be made in respect of annual leave . . . during the Easter holiday period".

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