COUNCIL chiefs have denied job losses amongst early years staff but admitted some staff have had to be moved to different nurseries this term.

Education bosses at North Ayrshire Council have come under fire for their handling of the Scottish Government’s plans to extend nursery hours for all three and four years olds by 2020.

Following a series of stories published by the Herald, SNP Councillor Scott Davidson asked a Full Council meeting about the treatment of early years staff.

Councillor John Bell told the meeting that only six staff had been relocated, however we understand that number does not include the number of supply staff who are not on permanent contracts.

Cllr Bell told the meeting: “In relation to the deliver of 1140 hours early years program prior to the summer holiday period.

“The council worked with nine early years establishments to realign staff working patterns. As a result of negotiations with trade unions, 114 staff were employed across these nine establishments and six were required to change their place of work – five per cent in total.

“Every effort was made to ensure that staff preferences were accommodated and any increase in travel distance to a new place of work was considered.

“There were no redundancies, Early Years is an expanding service and our plans are to increase job opportunities across this sector as we work towards the full implementation of 1140 hours of funded early learning by august 2020.”

Earlier this year education bosses made a dramatic u-turn with how they will roll out extended nursery hours – after complaints from disgruntled early years staff.

In May, Union bosses warned of a dispute after staff complained NAC’s gruelling 8am-6pm day pilot, was not working.

Since then NAC’s handling of the shake up has been branded “chaos” by tearful staff , some of whom have had to leave centres they have worked in for decades.

One woman who was moved after nine years at her school, said: “They have no loyalty to their staff and are causing a lot of hurt and upset.

“The unions cannot help as we are not losing our jobs just being moved. We are not permanent to the location but to the council.”