Wednesday, 26 July 2017

UNISON legal victory sees employment tribunal fees scrapped

The branch is delighted to report that employment tribunal fees will be scrapped after UNISON won a landmark court victory against the government this morning.

The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.

From today, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.

 The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals  since July 2013, when fees were introduced by then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling.

Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200. This has been a huge expense for many low-paid employees, says UNISON.

Reacting to this morning‘s decision, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government is not above the law. But when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.

Read the full story here

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Under 27? Come along to UNISON's young members' BBQ and Information Event on 22nd July


Local UNISON branches have organised a young members' BBQ and information event for Saturday 22nd July from 10am at the Grampian Resource Centre, Alford Place, Aberdeen.

Local Organiser, Ann McEvoy said, "The Young Members Committee is coming up to Grampian Resource Centre and this is a great opportunity for Young Members (up to the age of 27) to drop by and meet and find out more about the Young Members Self Organised Group (SOG).

"It is also an opportunity for them to become more involved."

The BBQ begins at 1pm but the Young Members Committee will be there from 10am to answer any questions or just to meet with local young members.

UNISON - protecting members' interests as council continues to look at alternative delivery model for sport and leisure

The branch has written out to all affected members with an update on the proposals for an Alternative Delivery Model - essentially a Trust - for sport and leisure services.

The branch will hold meetings with affected members in September to seek your views.

Inez Kirk
Inez Kirk, Branch Secretary writes, "The Council are continuing to work on the proposals for a full business case to establish a Trust for Sport and Leisure. 

"UNISON continues to be involved at every stage of this process; within the Project Board Working Group and Sub Groups.  UNISON is continuing to play the role of “critical friend”, pointing out alternatives to accepted ideas and emphasising the need on ongoing two way communication with all affected staff. 

"We are aware that proposals are due to be heard by full Council in September with a view, if the proposals are accepted, to be implemented on 1st April 2018.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Sadness but also optimism at this year's UNISON National Delegate Conference

The cloud of the tragic events in London and Manchester hung heavy over this year's Conference.

The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, whatever the causes, threw into focus the reality of the divide in a Tory UK between obscene wealth and inexcusable poverty.

The need to address that was reflected in policies we set on breaking the pay cap, on campaigning for decent public services, on housing policies and on a decent living wage that is actually enough to live on.

Equalities too was high on the agenda. One of the most moving bits of any Conference is when people who are directly affected have a personal story to tell. There was much of that in this debate. The pain of the stories was matched only by the courage of the delegates telling them.

But there was optimism too. The outcome of the General Election left us all with hope that there is an end to austerity in sight. The Labour Manifesto, so heavily built on the policies that UNISON has been calling for since 2010 and before, gave a more upbeat feel to this conference than has been in evidence for a long time. And Jeremy Corbyn's wonderful speech as he addressed UNISON conference was the icing on the cake.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Financial surgeries free to UNISON members July and Sept 2017

UNISON Living along with Lighthouse Financial Advice is holding free surgeries for UNISON members seeking financial advice in Gordon House and Woodhill House in July and September.

These will be held in the Ury Room in Gordon House on 14th July and 29th September and in Conference Room D in Woodhill House on 10th July and 26th September.
The professional financial advisers can advise on
  • financial protection for you and your family
  • pension advice and planning for retirement
  • savings and investments
  • tax planning
  • mortgages
You can book your place by contacting Hilary Thomson on 01273 523717 or email on hilary.thomson@lighthousegroup.plc.uk

Click here for a Gordon House poster

Click here for a Woodhill House poster

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Aberdeenshire UNISON supports the WASPI campaign

On Friday 26th May, Aberdeenshire UNISON members joined women from WASPI (Women Against State Pensions Inequality) on stalls at Woodhill House and Gordon House, to highlight the unfairness in the changes to state pensions for women born in the 1950s and to call for fair transitional arrangements to be made.

Lewis Macdonald, Labour MSP pledges support to WASPI
UNISON is strongly supporting the WASPI campaign as it affects a lot of our members now and in the future.

UNISON activists Kathleen Kennedy and Morag Lawrence, along with Local Organiser Ann McEvoy and WASPI women were joined at the Woodhill House stall by Labour MSP, Lewis Macdonald, and by Labour general election candidates, Orr Vinegold (Aberdeen North) and Kirsten Muat (Gordon). All pledged support for the WASPI campaign.

In Gordon House, UNISON’s Ann Gray was joined by the SNP candidate for Gordon, Alex Salmond, who also pledged his full support.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Pay update - Members vote for action but turnout below threshold

UNISON Scotland today announced the result of the Industrial Action ballot which closed yesterday with 62.7% voting in favour of industrial action. However the turnout was 22.8%.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "As the turnout is below the 50% threshold, it is not possible to take industrial action under current legislation imposed by the UK Government."

• Number of votes cast; 15,214
• Number of yes votes; 9,540
• Number of no votes; 5,662
• Number of spoiled or invalid papers; 12

The employers have previously stated that they would be prepared to meet with the trade unions once the ballot had concluded and as a result UNISON will be seeking an early meeting to explore how pay can be concluded for 2017/18.

Inez Kirk, Vice-Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee added, "The committee met in Glasgow this morning to consider the ballot result and were understandably disappointed.

"The ballot did return a vote in favour of taking industrial action but did not meet the requirements of the Trade Union Act 2016.

"However the result did indicate that there are a substantial number of UNISON members who are unhappy with the employers offer on pay and we will be taking this into our meeting with the employers."