Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Branch to review policy on the administration of medications by PSAs at AGM in Feb. Come along and have your say.

Aberdeenshire branch will be putting together a motion for our Branch AGM (Wednesday 26th February at 7pm, Kintore Arms, Inverurie) to strengthen current UNISON policy on the administration of medications by PSAs locally.

Susan Kennedy
The Branch congratulated Glasgow City branch, who after a long dispute over administration of medication in schools have successfully balloted and voted on a new structure for dealing with the administration of medication. Negotiations will continue over the next few months to agree on and finalise policy and procedures.

Susan Kennedy, Assistant Branch Secretary said, "We have been watching this development carefully.

"Administration of medicines under current UNISON and Aberdeenshire Council policy remains on a voluntary basis but we do need to address the current situation.

"We need to carry out an assessment of what is actually being carried out across the authority and work towards a clearer understanding of what is acceptable practise for the role of a PSA and for that we will need the support of our members."

Susan added, "We would encourage all our PSA and other members to come along to join the debate at the AGM and put your views across."

If you need any advice on administration of medications please contact the Grampian Resource Centre on 01224 620624

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Branch celebrates School Support Staff

On November 29th Meldrum Academy, working in partnership with UNISON, celebrated all School Support Staff.

During the day both teaching staff and pupils thanked and praised the work that support staff undertook to enable and enhance the learning experience of the pupils.

A special break time treat was put on for all the staff and tea and coffee was served by some of the senior pupils.

Meldrum’s Head Boy told the staff how invaluable the support staff were in the school and that in-class support was very much appreciated and has benefited many pupils at the academy.

Susan Kennedy, Assistant Branch Secretary said, “I would like to thank all the staff and pupils who have made today’s celebration a success.

"We need to highlight the importance of school support staff and work together to protect their roles within Aberdeenshire schools.

"We will be running a programme of school meetings in the New Year to follow on from our School Support Staff survey, so I look forward to coming along to discuss all the issues and move forward with our campaign”

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Branch does the double at Scottish Communication Awards

The branch won gold twice at this year's Scottish Communications Awards, winning first prize in the Best Publications category for UNISON Matters, the Branch newsletter, and taking the honours in the Best Online Presence category for the website, Branch Blog and Twitter.

Gold certificates were presented to Morag Lawrence, Newssheet Editor and Kate Ramsden, Webmanager at UNISON's Scottish Council Meeting of branches on Saturday 7th December 2013, along with cheques for £150 in each category.

Morag said, "I am delighted to have won this award on behalf of the branch. It's the first time that the Branch has entered the Newsletter, so to win the gold award is a great accolade."

Kate added, "It was fantastic to win these awards and it is a tribute to all the organising and campaigning work done by the branch.

"I maintain the website and the Blog, and Morag edits the newsletter, but we are never short of things to report. We are a very active branch and the newsletter, website and blog shows just how much work all our branch officers and activists do to support our members."

Sunday, 1 December 2013

St Andrew’s Day March and Rally - Standing up for Equality, Justice and Respect

Christmas shoppers stopped to watch as trade unions and community groups, led by the rhythmic uplifting beat of the Guarana Drummers, marched along Union Street for equality, justice and respect.

The St Andrew’s Day March and Rally was organised by the Aberdeen Trades Union Council along with community groups including Aberdeen Anti Fascist Alliance and Aberdeen Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. It made a colourful scene as the banners, UNISON's amongst them,  snaked down Union Street to the Rally at Marischall College.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Branch AGM 2014

Branch AGM 2014 will be held on Wed 26th February at 7pm at the Kintore Arms, Inverurie. Buffet from 6.30pm

The preliminary notice has gone out to all members. Please come along and hear what the Branch has been doing over the past year and have your say.

Branch to meet council on terms and conditions after apology for bypassing unions

The council has apologised for bypassing the unions when announcing the outcome of the consultation on Terms and Conditions and UNISON has agreed to meet with them to go over our detailed response and to discuss the feedback from the Council’s consultation.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, "We have now written to all our members to update them on Terms and Conditions after the council issued emails and placed articles on ARCADIA before the Joint Trade Unions had a chance to discuss the consultation exercise.

"We did not know those mailings were happening.  This is not normal practice and I raised the Branch's concerns formally with Aberdeenshire Council.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Branch condemnation as council bypasses unions on terms and conditions announcement

Public worksThe Branch has condemned Aberdeenshire Council's decision to publicise the outcome of the consultation on terms and conditions BEFORE meeting with the trade unions to discuss the Trade Union and staff responses.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, "UNISON Aberdeenshire consulted our members and we sent a detailed response, we believe other trade unions did likewise.

"Aberdeenshire Council also asked all staff to fill in their consultation response, yet have not shared the outcome of that consultation with us.

"Consultation must be meaningful and it’s normal practice for the Council and the unions to share information and to discuss outcomes, yet this has not happened.  UNISON believes the trade unions have simply been ignored.

Monday, 25 November 2013

A Class Act - Aberdeenshire UNISON celebrates the “unsung heroes” in our schools

On Friday 29th November the Branch will be celebrating all school support staff, as part of UNISON’s National Day of Celebration for Pupil Support Assistants.

The Branch will work in partnership with Meldrum Academy and for the whole of the previous week, the school will be holding special assemblies as part of that celebration.

UNISON will provide the refreshments for a special celebration at tea break in Meldrum Academy on Friday, the National Day of Celebration.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Come along to the St Andrews Day March and Rally for Equality, Justice and Respect on 30th Nov in Aberdeen

"Stand together for a caring and compassionate society"

Please come along and join us at the St Andrew's Day March and Rally, on Saturday 30th November in Aberdeen, to give a clear message that racism and fascism are not welcome here in Aberdeenshire.
10.30 am Assemble at St Nicholas Churchyard. Look out for the branch banner and join us to march behind it.
11.00am March down Union Street
11.30am Rally outside Marischall College (latest information.)

There will be speakers from Trade Unions, Community Organisations and Political Parties at the rally. Kate Ramsden, Aberdeenshire UNISON Branch Chair will be chairing the Rally.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Branch ballots Cornerstone members on 1% pay offer


Inez Teece
Inez Teece
The Branch has issued ballot papers to all Cornerstone members to seek their views on a 1% pay offer, backdated to 1st April 2013. This does not apply to those on preserved/conserved salaries, who will not see an increase. Those on a living wage supplement are also excluded from this rise.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, "UNISON has been negotiating with the employer about the annual pay increase and seeking a pay rise in line with inflation.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Branch will work in partnership with council Health and Safety team to address stress at work

Susan Kennedy
Aberdeenshire UNISON's stress survey shows that many members are struggling with increased workloads, deadlines and time pressures and worry about job security.

Assistant Secretary, Susan Kennedy met with Aberdeenshire Council's Health and Safety team on 6th November to discuss these findings and to agree a way forward.

See the full report on the website

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Members vote to accept new terms and conditions but branch calls for more talks to protect low paid

Public worksAberdeenshire UNISON members have accepted the new terms and conditions package proposed by the council, with two thirds of those who responded in the ballot voting to accept.

However, responses to UNISON’s consultation has shown a clear division between members who work 9-5, who stand to gain most from the proposals, and those who work unsocial hours and shift work, who stand to lose anything from £200 to £3000 a year. These are amongst the lowest paid in the workforce and many, such as homecarers, provide care services to the most vulnerable in our communities.

Inez Teece
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, “We were able to negotiate a pay increase of £750 in total for our lowest paid workers, as well as the living wage which is already in place, and £250 for everyone else. Whilst many members were happy with this and will see a rise in their take home pay, others will see this eroded and more by the loss of unsocial hours payments, shift allowances and the mileage lump sum.

“We are particularly concerned, as a union, about the impact on our lowest paid, mainly women workers and at the bitter divide that this is creating between those who work 24/7 and 9 to 5 staff.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Members vote 94% to 6% to accept new Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme

UNISON members in Scotland have voted overwhelmingly to accept the new LGPS scheme in the ballot which closed today.    
The result was 94% to accept and 6% to reject.

UNISON will now sign the Heads of Agreement this month and move onto the detailed work on the regulations and the outstanding issues.

Many thanks to everyone who returned their ballot paper.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Come along to the St Andrews Day Anti-racism March and Rally "Stand together for a caring and compassionate society"

We are encouraging all our members to join us at the St Andrew's Day March and Rally, to give a clear message that racism and fascism are not welcome here in Aberdeenshire. 
There will be speakers from Trade Unions, Community Organisations and Political Parties. Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair will be chairing the Rally

10.30am Assemble at St Nicholas Churchyard. Look out for the branch banner and join us to march behind it.
11.00am March down Union Street
11.30am Rally in the Castlegate

Saturday, 26 October 2013

CoSLA claim of UNISON dragging feet is nonsense

Members will have seen press reports about CoSLA imposing a two year 1% pay offer (for example

CoSLA's criticism of UNISON "dragging its feet" is nonsense. The real fact is that CoSLA changed the deal from a one year offer to two years after the one year deal had been accepted by UNISON members in a ballot.

See the update from 6 September on the UNISON Scotland site for an outline of what actually happened.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Branch stress survey to report soon as UNISON nationally finds that 87% of local government workers surveyed are struggling with stress

The Branch has been asking members and non-members to complete a stress survey to find out how staff locally are coping in the workplace.

Stewards have been handing out stress survey forms during workplace visits and a survey form was sent out with the Summer issue of UNISON Matters which is delivered to all Branch members.

The Branch has had a great many forms returned and is currently compiling and analysing the responses, to take to the council.

Richard Lawrence
More work and fewer staff
Richard Lawrence, Branch Health and Safety Officer said, "Many of our members told us that as the cuts began to bite, they became more stressed, as there are fewer and fewer staff doing the same amount of work. They tell us that workloads have increased and many members are experiencing their management as less supportive.

"We decided to do this survey to find out how widespread these problems are and we have had responses from across services."

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Vote for The Happy Lands for the Scottish BAFTA Audience Award

All of you who liked The Happy Lands and thought it a disgrace it didn't get a general release, have the opportunity to vote for it to win the Audience Award in the Scottish Baftas. Currently it's standing in fourth place (out of eight).

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "At this time of Grangemouth - we think it would be only right if a film showing rogue private employers controlling a national energy source, and holding a gun to their workforces head to drive down pay and conditions, won an award from the Scottish people, don't you?"

Go to -

Monday, 21 October 2013

Branch ballots members on terms and conditions

Public worksThe Branch has issued ballot papers to members on the council's revised terms and conditions package.

Members are asked to make sure that they complete and return their ballot paper by Friday 1st November 2013.

The Branch will also respond formally to the council based on what members have told us individually and at the meetings.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Go along to "Wherever I lay my hat" a history of social housing in Aberdeenshire

Delve into this fascinating history from the Archives in the Ury Room, Gordon House, Inverurie, from 12.30 on Friday 1st November 2013

The talk will look at the development of council housing in Aberdeenshire in the 20th Century following the end of World War One.
To book a place: Email

Phone (01224) 481775
Booking is essential

Monday, 7 October 2013

UNISON Scotland to ballot members on new Local Government Pension Scheme with recommendation to accept

Ballot papers will be sent out to members who are conditioned to the Scottish Local Government Pension Scheme on 16 October with a closing date of 10am on 7 November 2013.
Any member who does not receive a ballot paper should contact UNISON Direct on 0845 355 0845.

UNISON is recommending that members vote to Accept the current proposals.

There will also be an explanatory leaflet that outlines the proposals. A copy of this leaflet is on the UNISON Scotland website along with the draft Heads of Agreement and other materials.

Go to the Branch or UNISON Scotland website for more information.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Aberdeenshire UNISON is now on Twitter

See us at @AbdnshireUNISON

Harmonisation risks gaps in recruitment processes warns branch

Inez Teece
Responding to the consultation on the review of council recruitment processes, the Branch has highlighted the dangers of throwing the baby out with the bathwater in the proposals for harmonising staff recruitment across services and has warned that there is the potential for gaps in some services.

The council is proposing to centralise recruitment functions. UNISON attended all the consultation meetings and also heard direct from many members.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Branch to hold members' meetings on "improved" terms and conditions proposals

UNISON is holding meetings for members in the week beginning 7th October on Aberdeenshire Council's new package of terms and conditions which will be arriving through the post from now.

We will be having meetings as detailed below to answer questions and to seek your views. Please make every effort to come along.
  • 8th October 12.30 – 1.30 Banff Court House                      
  • 9th October 12.45 – 1.45 Fraserburgh Community and Sports Centre (new pool)   Meeting Room 3            
  • 9th October 12.30 – 1.30 Conservatory, Carlton House, Stonehaven                            
  • 10th October 12.30 – 1.30 Ury Room, Gordon House, Inverurie                                    
  • 11th October 12.30 – 1.30 Marr Room, Annex, Woodhill House, Aberdeen