Wednesday, 28 December 2016

No happy new year for Local Government Workers

UNISON has slammed Scottish council employers after they have failed to respond to a pay claim lodged by unions in August 2016. 

"Council staff who work tirelessly to provide services across the festive period are being treated in a disgraceful fashion by their employers," say UNISON.

UNISON, and other local authority trade unions, lodged a pay claim with the Scottish employers in August 2016. See pay claim.

However despite many requests employers have failed to respond to it. That’s despite arranging pay claim discussion meetings but then cancelling them at short notice.

UNISON is calling on Scottish local government employers to get round the table in the first days of January 2017, so we can get the new year off to a good start.

UNISON’s lead negotiator, Douglas Black said ‘this is a dreadful way to treat staff who are working exceptionally hard under extreme circumstances to deliver the services that we all rely on. The Scottish employers need to take a hard look at themselves and understand that the greatest asset they rely on are their own staff.’

Mark Ferguson, chairperson of UNISON Local Government Committee added, ‘if an offer is not forthcoming then UNISON will not hesitate to consider taking action to force the employers to the negotiating table. Local government staff are keeping our vital services going over the festive period. It’s surely not too much to ask that the employers at least respond to our pay claim.”

UNISON is contacting all local Councillors to ask them to exert pressure on the employers negotiators to address this issue immediately.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Unions submit one year £1000 flat rate pay claim for council staff

Negotiators from UNISON, Unite and the GMB have jointly submitted a one year pay claim of £1000 flat rate for all staff for 2017-18.

The unions have also called for the continued uprating of the Scottish Living Wage, due to rise from £8.25 to £8.45 from April 2017. And they will press for the development of a pay strategy to identify and make good the imbalance in pay caused by the below inflation pay awards of recent years.

Lead negotiator and UNISON officer, Dougie Black said, "The trade union side believes that this claim is realistic and fair. We hope that the employers will engage in constructive talks with us so that we can reach an early settlement."

Mark Ferguson, Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee added, "The emplyers have already agreed to fully consolidate the Scottish Living Wage within a three year period so they will need to do that by 1st April 2017.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

St Andrews Day March and Rally 2016 - Celebrating the multicultural voices of the North East of Scotland

Inez Teece marches with the branch banner
The branch joined hundreds of people from many different ethnic backgrounds - trade unionists, activists, politicians and citizens - as they came together at this year’s St Andrews Day March and Rally in Aberdeen.

This was a celebration of diversity in the North East of Scotland and the marchers gave a clear message that racism and intolerance is not welcome here.

The branch was proud to donate to the cost of a bus to bring the new Syrian Scots from Inverurie to the march.

The event was organised once again by Aberdeen Trades Union Council, this year in partnership with #WeAreAberdeen, a group which has been set up to combat growing racism and intolerance in the wake of the Brexit campaign.

Carrying colourful banners and placards, the marchers were upbeat and joyful as they strode along the aptly named Union Street behind the stirring music of the Granite City Pipes and Drums Youth Band.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Stars in our Schools - Celebrating the role of school support staff

On Friday 25 November 2016, across the country schools will be celebrating the people behind the scenes who help children learn, keep them safe and healthy and make sure schools run smoothly.
Susan Kennedy, Assistant Secretary is encouraging schools across Aberdeenshire to take part.

"This allows those schools to thank all the support staff who are very often forgotten, for all their hard work supporting our children through their educational years,” she said.

Click here for the Stars in Our Schools website

Susan added, "A whole team of people – from IT technicians, caretakers, lunchtime supervisors, receptionists, administrators, teaching assistants and many more – work together to make a great school.

"These people have a huge impact on children’s education, but they’re often forgotten. Which is why UNISON organises Stars in Our Schools day, a day to celebrate them. And the day is almost here!"

Click on the link for more ideas of what you can do

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Come along to the St Andrews Day March and Rally and celebrate diversity in the North East of Scotland

Members are urged to attend this year's St Andrew's Day March and Rally in Aberdeen which will be held on Saturday 26th November and will celebrate diversity in the North East of Scotland.

Click here for a poster

Organiser, Aberdeen Trades Union Council has joined forces with #We are Aberdeen, a new campaign in the North East of Scotland to bring people and communities together to respond to the recent rise of intolerance across the UK.

Marchers will gather at 11am in the St Nicholas Churchyard, Union Street, Aberdeen to march off at 11.30am for a rally in the Castlegate at 12 noon.

Kate Ramsden, President of the ATUC said, "We are delighted to be working with #We are Aberdeen to celebrate the diversity of our communities in the North East of Scotland.

"Everyone is welcome on the march, to give the message that racism will not be tolerated in the North East of Scotland. We see this as a family event and I would love to see people bringing their own stories and positive messages, such as colourful banners, placards and posters."

The march will be led off by the Granite City Pipes and Drums Youth Band so will be a rousing affair. The rally will hear from speakers from community groups, trade unions and politicians representing the multi-cultural voices of the North East.

Following the rally, there will be songs and poetry from Ray Moore, Davy Kettyles and others in La Lombarda in the Castlegate. Please come and join us there too.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Time to Care - if you work in care are you getting the Scottish Living Wage?

#TimetoCare From 1 October 2016 social care workers should be be paid £8.25 per hour.

Help UNISON enforce the Living Wage and Fair Work. Click here to fill in our Living Wage survey right now!

Are you being paid the Scottish Living Wage?
This is most likely to apply to you if you work for the Community, Voluntary or Private sector.

New Social Care Rights from 1 October as demanded by Scottish Government are:

• The Scottish Living Wage of £8.25
• Fair working conditions
• An effective voice for staff when negotiating with your employer
• Secure working arrangements
• Opportunities to advance your career in social care

All this should be embedded in the revised funding of the organisation you work for.

If you work in social care and are not being paid the Scottish Living Wage – or if your terms and conditions have been altered as a result of receiving the Living Wage – then you need to let us know.

This applies to anyone aged 18 and over.

Click here to tell us about it right now using our fast survey.

And check out our TimeTo Care campaign right here


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Branch urges members to get along to council meetings about alternative service delivery model for sport and culture

The branch is encouraging all affected members to get along to a series of meetings arranged by Aberdeenshire Council in the run-up to the next EL&L Committee.

This committee will consider a report from the project board which includes a commissioned report from Ernst and Young on an alternative service delivery model for sport, culture and community learning and development. The branch will be represented at all these meetings to hear what you think.

Four alternative models that were considered have been narrowed down by the Project Board to the creation of a charitable trust, which would deliver sport and cultural services on behalf of the council, (also known as an Arms Length External Organisation or ALEO) and the potential of an enhanced status quo model through which those services would continue to be directly delivered by the council.

The meeting dates are as follows:
  • North (Fraserburgh CSC) – 11am – 12pm Tuesday, 25 October
  • North (Peterhead Community Theatre) – 3 – 4pm Tuesday, 25 October
  • Central (Meldrum Academy) – 3.30 – 4.30pm Wednesday, 26 October
  • Central (Inverurie Town Hall) – 6 – 7pm Monday, 24 October
  • South (PFR Room, Banchory Academy) – 6 – 7pm Tuesday, 25 October
  • South (Mearns Community Campus) – 6 – 7pm Wednesday, 26 October
On 27th October EL&L committee members will be presented with a report on the work carried out so far before the preferred option is chosen by all councillors at next month’s full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council on 15th November.

The branch has been pressing the council through the working group, project board and elected members to think very carefully before going down any outsourcing route. We have pointed out that ALEOs in other Local Authorities in Scotland have led to cuts in services as well as in staff, and terms and conditions. Aberdeen City is currently seeing the closure of pools in the City by their ALEO, Sport Aberdeen.

The branch has worked to see CLD services removed from this proposal and welcomes the recommendation that CLD services be removed from the scope of this proposal. If the committee agrees, CLD will remain under the direct management of Aberdeenshire Council. We believe that the best way to protect and deliver public services is to keep them in-house.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Branch supports Graham's half Marathon and fundraising and you can too

Branch steward Graham Wilson will be running in the Fraserburgh half Marathon on the 6th November in support of Oldmeldrum based charity Kayleigh's Wee Stars and the branch delighted to have donated £100 to this very worthwhile cause.

This local charity provides financial support for families where there is a child with a terminal illness, and helps makes memories for these extremely courageous children

We would also encourage members to donate in recognition of Graham's efforts and you can do so by clicking here. Kayleigh's Wee Stars.
Graham in training
Graham said, "Whilst I really enjoy running and it provides so much for me in the way of stress relief, I do want some good to come out of it.

"Rather than ask for sponsorship I am encouraging friends and family that maybe would consider sponsoring me to instead make a donation to Kayleigh's Wee Stars.

"The charity continues to receive on average 4 applications for support a month, and by May 2015 had donated almost £250,000 in total. The applications continue to come in and every bit of support is vital," added Graham.

" It doesn't take long to donate, and every little makes a difference, giving me some inspiration to run this half marathon.

"Please make a donation and help to provide a family with a chance of making precious memories together."

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Branch to the fore at both local government and national delegate conferences.

Kathleen makes her maiden speech
Branch delegates were active at the podium at both UNISON's Local Government Service Group Conference and the union's National Delegate Conference (NDC).

Branch Secretary, Inez Teece and Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden both spoke at this year's Local Government Conference - Inez in her role as Regional Delegate and Kate as branch delegate.

Click here to see the report of the Local Government Conference on the Branch website

Kate Ramsden then made two speeches at National Delegate Conference, whilst Branch Equalities Officer, Kathleen Kennedy made her maiden speech at NDC.

Kate spoke in the first debate of the week on poverty then on Palestine during the international debates. Kathleen spoke on combatting bullying, especially amongst young workers.

Click here to see the NDC report on the Branch website

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Workplace disability standards a sham says Branch Equalities Officer Kathleen at TUC Disabled Workers' Conference

Kathleen Kennedy
The TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference condemned the current schemes to improve disability equality in the workplace and will lobby the UK government to impose transparent and regularly measured disability standards on both public and private sector employers.

Supporting the motion from the Prison Officers’ Association, Branch Equalities Officer and UNISON delegate Kathleen Kennedy, in her maiden conference speech, told delegates that neither the two tick scheme or Disability Confident do anything much to remove barriers for disabled workers or to ensure disabled workers get equal rights.

“They are a sham!” slammed Kathleen.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Branch joins Aberdeen May Day March calling for collective action in the struggle against inequality and injustice around the world

UNISON activists and the branch banner joined hundreds of trade unionists, community activists and politicians, four beds and three dogs on the Aberdeen May Day March on Saturday 30th April, calling for workers' rights around the world.

It also called for the ARI Trauma Centre to stay open for the people of the North East of Scotland.

The march was led off once again by the uplifting beats of the Guarana Drummers, stopping at regular intervals to lead the marchers in a chant of “Save our NHS” – a reference to the campaign to save the trauma centre in the North East of Scotland.

Four UNISON members and activists representing  the Grampian Health branch had dressed up as beds to highlight the campaign to ensure that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary can keep its trauma centre for the people of the North East of Scotland.

Humphrey the basset hound brought UNISON health activist Sandra-Dee Masson on the march with him, where he was joined by two other politically active dogs!

Passersby once again stopped to watch and wave as the colourful procession of banners, placards and flags marched by on its exuberant way down the whole of Union Street to the rally in the Castlegate.

Click here for a full report of the March and Rally on ATUC blog

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Aberdeen remembers - Workers' Memorial day 2016

Aberdeen remembered all those who have lost their lives, been injured or made ill at their work at a moving and well attended Workers’ Memorial Day service on 28th April.

Opening the ceremony at the Persley Walled Garden in Aberdeen, Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair, and President of Aberdeen Trades Union Council, extended a particular welcome and deepest condolences to the family and work colleagues of Ian Walker, the worker who lost his life in the construction of the third Don Crossing.

Kate said, “This will be a very poignant service as we mourn the deaths of three workers, including Ian, killed at their work in a three week period in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire earlier this year.

“In coming together today we mourn all those, like Ian, who have lost their lives doing their job.

 “But we also make a pledge to continue our fight for robust health and safety procedures, inspection and legislation to make sure no more workers are killed at their work and no other families have to grieve the loss of their loved ones.”

Kate also thanked Aberdeenshire Council for their messages of support.

Kate said, "Although the elected members are unable to attend, the Provost opened their Full Council today with a statement about Workers' Memorial Day and a period of reflection."
Click here to read a full account of the ceremony on the ATUC blog.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Workers' Memorial Day Thursday 28 April 2016 - Remember the dead, fight for the living

This year's International Workers Memorial Day Service, will be held at 1pm (gather from 12.30pm) at Persley Walled Garden, Persley, Aberdeen. All are welcome to attend.

For more information go to the ATUC blog.

International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD) takes place all over the world on 28 April each year.
The purpose of IWMD is two-fold. Firstly it is about not forgetting those who have died, been injured, or made ill by their work. Secondly it is about ensuring that tragic loss and suffering are used to reinvigorate the campaign for healthier and safer work.

The campaign slogan is "Remember the dead, fight for the living."

The number of people killed at work in Scotland has been rising in recent years, according to official figures. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said 20 workers lost their lives north of the border in 2014-15. Recently three workers have lost their lives in work related accidents in the local area so this will be a particularly poignant service.

In this time of austerity, it is ever more important to protect our Health and Safety legislation, which is constantly under attack.

The Service will last for approx 30mins.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Kathleen's equalities role raises branch profile in Scottish and national disabled members' forums.

Branch Equalities Officer, Kathleen Kennedy, is a member of the UNISON Scotland Disabled Members' Committee, which is a self organised group consisting entirely of disabled members who campaign on behalf of our disabled members to ensure that disability issues are given a voice within UNISON.

From the Scottish Committee Kathleen has now been elected onto the National Disabled Members Committee.

Kathleen said, "The National Disabled Committee has a key role to raise issues surrounding disability across the whole of UNISON. As a member of this committee I am also involved with organising the National Disabled Members Conference."

Kathleen will attend this conference and will co-chair the Women's Caucus meeting at the National Disabled Members Committee and National Disabled Members Conference.

Kathleen is also involved in two Disabled Women Members' Network Days and has been elected as one of the National Disabled Members Delegation going to the TUC Disabled Workers Conference.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Branch lobbies Scottish Parliament for increase to council budget settlement

Branch activists lobbied the Scottish Parliament on 3rd and 24th February as it debated the Budget Bill, to call on the Scottish Government to improve their settlement for Local Authorities to prevent cuts and job loss.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary and Vice Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee who attended both events with the branch banner said,
"It was good to see such a big turnout at the lobby of parliament on the Budget Bill.

"It is very disappointing that the Scottish Government has refused to shift and is talking down the impact of the cuts on council jobs and services.

Click here for a full report on the Branch website

Friday, 19 February 2016

AGM vows to fight for public services, for public service jobs and for the trade unions who protect them

A lively aggregate AGM saw members at two meetings, the first at Woodhill House and the second at the Kintore Arms, Inverurie, throw their weight behind campaigns to champion public services and public service workers and to fight the Tory government's anti-union bill.

The AGM also backed a local campaign to call for the appropriate provision of healthcare staff to carry out the administration of medications or medical procedures within council and third sector settings; and to put a stop to the voluntary administration of medicines that puts low paid and often untrained staff at risk.

And those members working in professions subject to registration with the Scottish Social Services Council pledged to encourage colleagues to join UNISON for their own protection and to urge members to contact the branch if they are under SSSC investigation.

Our speaker at the aggregate meetings was Carol Ball, joint-Vice Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee alongside our own Inez Teece. Our thanks go to Carol for a very interesting and powerful presentation on council cuts and the Scottish campaign to champion Local Government services and members.

Click here for a full report of the AGMs .

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Can UNISON help you with a Winter Fuel Grant?

If you are a UNISON member and are struggling to pay your fuel bill this Winter, UNISON Welfare, There for You may be able to help.

  1. What are UNISON There for You Winter Fuel Grants? In addition to our normal range of services and in response to the growing difficulty many members on low income are experiencing paying their fuel bills, a programme has been put in place that will assist our most vulnerable members.
  2. How much are the Grants? They are one-off grants of £40.00 per household.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Elected members sign up to UNISON's no compulsory redundancies campaign on budget day

Branch members at Woodhill House

Members of Aberdeenshire UNISON were on hand to ask elected members to sign up to UNISON’s  “No Compulsory Redundancies” campaign as they arrived at Woodhill House for this year’s budget meeting on Thursday 11th February.

The branch has welcomed Aberdeenshire Council’s public commitment to no outsourcing of services and no compulsory redundancies, but has warned that non-filling of vacancies and the ending of temporary contracts could have the same effect.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "We were delighted that a high number of elected members signed UNISON's pledge cards.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Come along to the branch AGM on 17 Feb - Agenda and papers are now out

All members are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Aberdeenshire Branch of UNISON on 17th February 2016. There are 2 venues and times to enable you to attend.  Firstly 12-2pm at Committee Room 3, Woodhill House, and later from 7-9 p.m. at the Kintore Arms, Inverurie.

The AGM agenda and papers have now been sent out to all members and we would really encourage all our members to attend one of these meetings.

The AGM is the branch's supreme policy making forum. It will elect the Branch Officers and stewards for 2016 and will set policy on important issues affecting all members. This year we have five motions, four of which deal with the branch's campaigning work including opposing the cuts and the trade union billand supporting members in the workplace.

Our speaker will be Carol Ball, Vice-Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee and our branch pensions champion James Mulholland will be on hand to give an update on pensions.

Please come along and hear more about what the branch is doing for you and what you can do to support the branch.

Friday, 15 January 2016

There for You (UNISON Welfare) Information and Advice for UNISON members affected by flooding

In the wake of recent widespread flooding in Aberdeenshire, the branch wishes to draw to members' attention that There for You (UNISON Welfare) has updated their information for members and to assist branch officers who are advising them.

If you are a member who has been affected by or is worried about flooding please read the information leaflet below to see how UNISON can help or go to the branch website. You can get in touch with the branch on 01224 620624 if you need further advice or support.

Click here for information leaflet

Monday, 4 January 2016

All members are welcome to come along to the Branch AGM on 17th Feb 2016

Aberdeenshire UNISON AGM will be held on WEDNESDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2016
12noon till 2pm in Committee Room 3, Woodhill House, Aberdeen and 7 till 9pm in the Kintore Arms, Inverurie
AGMAll members are invited to attend the AGM and there are 2 venues and times to enable you to attend.

Firstly 12-2pm at Committee Room 3, Woodhill House, and later from 7-9 p.m. at the Kintore Arms, Inverurie.

The AGM is the branch's supreme policy making forum. It will elect the Branch Officers and stewards for 2016, set policy on important issues affecting all members and can amend rules.

The preliminary notice was sent out on 7th December, to allow members time to consider and put forward nominations and motions and to meet deadlines for the agenda which will be sent out no later than Friday 29th January 2016.