Trade unions will meet with members this week for crunch talks over extended nursery hours.

Last month we revealed unions Unison, GMB and Unite hosted a meeting with more than 150 Early Years staff who were voicing their discontent over the new expansion to nursery hours which is currently being piloted in North Ayrshire.

Following the meeting union bosses warned of a dispute if North Ayrshire Council did not listen to members and take their concerns on board.

But the Times can reveal since the most recent meeting between Unions and NAC, education chiefs have agreed a ‘revised proposal for working hours’ – which they will put to members on Wednesday night (May 15)

Unison North Ayrshire said: “This meeting has been called for members of UNISON, Unite and GMB to allow (members) to consider a revised proposal for working hours to deliver the early years expansion within North Ayrshire. Discussions have been ongoing for some weeks and there have been positive developments.

“It is hoped there will be a large attendance and we may reach a successful conclusion.”

The Scottish Government plans to ensure all three and fouryear-olds and eligible two-year-olds can access 1,140 hours of free early years care each year – almost double the current amount of 600 hours – by August 2020.

But in some cases nursery staff say they have seen their working hours almost double from six-hour days to 10-hour days with just one halfhour break.

Andy MacFarlane from Unite told the Times: “From the reactions of the people taking part in the pilots and the people expected to carry out these hours there’s a degree of concern about how this is going to be managed.

“There’s a potential for a dispute. It has not happened yet, not until we get to a point where there’s absolutely no change in the council’s position and our members are not prepared to change their position.

“Every authority is doing it a different way. They have been given carte blanche to role it out however they see fit, but people have been phoning us and saying they’re not happy.

“In some cases they are rolling these hours out where there is not necessarily any uptake. So we have people working these hours but they’re standing about doing nothing.

“If we are expecting someone to go from a six hour day to a 10 hour day you have to consult them on it, surely? These are things that massively affect people’s lives.”

The Trade Union meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 15 at 6.30pm in Irvine Royal Academy canteen.