Parents and nursery workers will hold a demonstration in Pontypridd at 11.30am this Saturday (6 May), to protest against University of South Wales’ (USW) decision to close its crèche facilities.
UNISON says closing the play centre will impact negatively on all parts of the university community and the wider area. The trade union has also complained the decision goes against equal opportunities by disproportionally impacting on female students and university staff and the female crèche workforce.
The crèche is to close in September with 22 staff losing their jobs. This follows a recent announcement that the university intends to cut 139 teaching and support staff jobs. Over 100 children attend the crèche and parents have praised the dedicated support and specialist care provided by staff. It is open for anyone to use and is one of the few crèche facilities in the area. For some students, it is the only reason they began studying in the university.
Seb Cooke, UNISON organiser said,
“We know the university could afford to subsidise the crèche if it chose to do so. USW is sacking lower paid university support staff and those caring for local children. It doesn’t seem like a single highly-paid executive at USW is under threat of redundancy, despite poor performance indicators. The university’s priorities are clearly back to front and that’s what’s making parents and workers so angry.”
Taryn, a nursery employee said,
“The majority of staff at the nursery have been here for over 20 years. We’ve built up a really strong relationship with the parents and for some, we are their only support network. Some students are not going to be able to carry on studying because without us they will have no childcare.
“I like working in the nursery because I like being part of the community. You don’t go into nursery work to make money, you do it for fulfilment and to know you’ve given a child the best start in life. Parents say that they have been to other nurseries but they aren’t as good as this one. They say they can feel the happiness and that it’s a safe environment for their children. We’re marching on Saturday because we want to keep the nursery open for children and parents.”
Rhys, a student parent said,
“My daughter goes to the nursery and I use it so I can go to university. I’m just finishing my first year. I try to help out in the students union and by having her in the nursery it means I can do that. If it closes it means that I’ll probably have to transfer universities to somewhere where there’s more childcare because I can’t drive. I also have a son who is meant to start in September. There’s a risk I’d have to leave the course.
“It’s the second nursery I’ve used. In the first one the kids sat in a room all day but in this one they learn. The staff put a lot of effort in. The staff are all very nice. You go in there and you don’t worry because they’re all so highly qualified. Closing the nursery is short-sighted. It might not help all students but for the students it does help it’s the difference between coming to university or not. I’m marching on Saturday just to show support for the staff. It’s stressful because they don’t know if they will have a job. They’re looking after the kids so you don’t want them to be stressed.”
- Details of the demonstration: Assemble 11.30am Saturday 6 May, Pontypridd town centre at the fountain (next to Holland and Barratt) for a march through the town to a Save our Creche! rally in the park. Activities will be laid on for all children attending.