Families and staff ‘in tears’ outside Huyton nursery after sudden closure announced
Report by Tim Scott, ITV News Granada Reports
Parents and staff say they're "devastated" after a sign appeared on the gates of a nursery stating it would be permanently shut with immediate effect.
Orchard Day Nursery in Huyton looked after 200 children and employed nearly 50 people.
They arrived at the premises on Saturday to a sign which stated: "For reasons beyond our control the nursery will now be closed permanently.
"Further details have been sent by email.
"Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.”
Shortly afterwards, parents and staff received emails from the nursery confirming the news - and appearing to put the blame on the pay demands of staff.
It said: "It is with our deepest regret that we have to advise you that the nursery has ceased trading with effect from 17 March 2023 and will not reopen.
"This means that the nursery is now closed and is no longer able to provide care for your child."
The letter also referred to strike action carried out by staff members earlier in the week amid a dispute over pay, stating: "Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control including unrealistic pay demands and strikes by staff, the business is simply no longer viable.
"We flagged this potential situation to staff and the union on many occasions but unfortunately it fell on deaf ears."
The email included an apology for the lack of notice and the “disruption” it will cause to families, and states that representatives will be in touch in the coming weeks with further details for parents who have already paid fees in advance.
One parent, whose child attends the nursery, told the LDRS the family had been left “absolutely gutted” by the closure.
He said he and his partner had paid £800 for the month for childcare and didn’t know when they would receive any refund, with no notice given when they picked their son up on Friday evening.
Local UNISON representative Karen Greer said she had been contacted by staff members and parents "in tears" and made her way down to the site, where dozens of parents and nursery workers had gathered “in a state of shock” at the sudden closure.
She said: “There was no prior notification, the union was not informed.
"Staff are just devastated and shocked as all they wanted was to have open and honest negotiations.
"We were literally waiting to go back to the negotiation table after having contacted ACAS on Friday."
Orchard Day Nursery was approached for comment.