Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Aberdeenshire Branch has a new branch website

After 12 years and two national awards we have retired the old branch website and launched a new one designed to be cleaner, more accessible and able to be updated by a wider group of the branch team.

We will no longer be updating this blog so for up to date branch information please go to

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Leisure and Culture Trust Update UNISON – working to protect members and services

As Aberdeenshire Council continues to explore the proposal to move its sport, culture and leisure services out to a trust, UNISON continues to be involved in all working groups and project board looking at this option.

Here, Branch Secretary, Inez Kirk gives an update on the branch’s work to ensure our members feed into this process.

“UNISON has met with our members during a series of meetings during September and the feedback we have received continues to form our negotiating strategy. 

We have been seeking:
·         trade union recognition in the new trust
·         a non voting trade union advisor to the board
·         a sign-up of the trust to the SJC (Scottish Joint Council)
·         terms and conditions to maintain parity with colleagues remaining within
the Council.

So far, the Council has agreed to trade union recognition; the others we continue to discuss. 

Friday, 20 October 2017

Now is the time to stand strong, stand united and put public services first

Branch Chair and NEC member Kate Ramsden joined thousands of people from our union and other unions as they came together in London and demanded change, an end to austerity and real pay rises for all public service workers.

Addressing the rally in Parliament Square, Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary told those assembled that this is trade unionism at its best, “United, single-minded and determined to change our country for the better.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Branch members join Pay Up Now march and rally to demand decent pay rise

Branch members joined over 5,000 public service workers as they marched through Edinburgh on 7 October as part of UNISON’s Pay Up Now! Campaign, which is keeping pressure on both the Scottish and Westminster governments to end the pay cap and give all workers a decent pay rise.

Public service employees have seen their pay held back right across the UK for almost a decade. Public sector pay rose by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016, while the cost of living rose by 22%.

The rally was addressed by Lilian Macer, UNISON Scotland convener, general secretary Dave Prentis and Gordon McKay, the union’s senior vice president.

See the full report on the UNISON Scotland website with photos and videos of the event.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Pay Up Now! Come along to the March on 7th October and tell the Scottish and UK Governments we need a pay rise now!

Following months of UNISON pressure, the Scottish Government has said they will lift the 1% pay cap on public service workers.  That’s a welcome start, but what does it mean?

1.2%?  1.7%?  2%?  Inflation is 2.9%, so that’s still a real terms pay cut.  And what about all the pay we’ve lost over the last 10 years?

See just how much you’ve lost with our pay cut calculator

And who is it for? The Scottish Government has mentioned nurses and teachers. But what about all the rest of us. Council workers are amongst the lowest paid and local government has taken the biggest hit of job losses.

Sign UNISON's Pay Up Now Petition on the UK Parliament website. If our colleagues south of the border win a pay rise then more cash will come to Scotland for ours. It's easy to sign. Please do it now.

Don't leave it to someone else to fight for your pay
Council  workers,  NHS staff, and UNISON members from across the service groups along with their friends and families from all over Scotland, will gather at Holyrood on Saturday 7 October to show we’re serious about getting a proper pay rise.

Without you and your fellow workers there, we won't have the strong voice we need.  The government will say workers didn’t turn up, so there’s no real demand by staff for a decent pay rise.

The fun bit – Coach transport will be free, and there’s going to be free t-shirts, goodie bags for the kids, face painters, children’s entertainers, and 500 free tickets to Dynamic Earth.  What’s not to like?
Bring your kids, bring your partner, bring your granny, or just bring you!

Coaches are free, but you must book in advance.  Just call the UNISON Resource Centre on 01224 620624.  Spaces are limited, so get in touch by Monday 25 September.

Coach pick up points are:
Place Time Pickup point
Elgin 06.30 Town Hall
Inverurie 07.30 Town Hall
Aberdeen 08.00 UNISON Office, Alford Place
Place Time Pickup point
Fraserborough 06.30 Leisure Centre car park
Peterhead 07.00 Academy Bus Park
Ellon 07.30 Opposite New Inn
Aberdeen 08.00 UNISON Office, Alford Place
Coaches should be back in Aberdeen around 6pm, and after for places further north.

We will provide bottled water, but please bring a packed lunch for the day.  We will have a collection to raise money for the local CFINE Food Bank (

Saturday, 2 September 2017

UNISON Pay up Now campaign - March with us on 7th Oct for fair pay for all public service workers

UNISON's Pay up Now campaign is calling for an end to the pay restraint imposed by UK and Scottish governments which has affected members in all service groups from the NHS to Local Government to colleges and universities to police staffs and the community and voluntary sector and more.

The branch is fully behind the campaign and is calling on all our members to get down to the March and Rally on 7th October in Edinburgh. Buses are running from Aberdeen and you can book your place by calling the UNISON Resource Centre on 01224 620624.

Branch Secretary, Inez Kirk said, "For years now all public service workers have seen their pay held back by government in the name of austerity. First a freeze then a cap, resulting in public sector pay, across the UK, rising by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22%.

"That’s no way to treat hardworking people who play such a vital role in looking after us and holding our communities together – keeping us safe, healthy, educated, and cared for."

Click here for the UNISON UK calculator and find out what your wages should have been to keep up with inflation.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Aberdeenshire UNISON branch statement on council's Equalities Outcomes 2017-21

Below is the statement which the branch has sent to all Aberdeenshire councillors as well as to the HR Equalities Team within the council.

Kathleen Kennedy speaking on equalities
Aberdeenshire Branch welcomes the council’s new Equalities Outcomes for 2017-21 with their specific focus upon disability, posted last week on Arcadia.

The branch commends the council’s Disability Confident accreditation under the Department of Work and Pensions' Disability Confident Scheme. This accreditation recognises the council’s commitment to ensure that people with disabilities and long-term health conditions feel engaged, supported and presented with opportunities to fulfil their potential within the workplace.
The branch is committed to doing everything we can to support the council in making this a reality. We are also proud that our Equalities Officer, Kathleen Kennedy is a member of the UNISON Scottish disabled members’ self-organised group and has also been active on the national disabled members’ committee and is on the standing orders committee for their conference this year.

This reflects very positively on the branch and also on Aberdeenshire Council, as Kathleen can bring her knowledge and experience gained on these groups back to the council. We will be looking for the council’s support for this work.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Sleeping in and the minimum wage

Recent legal judgements mean that an employer who requires workers to do a sleep in at their workplace must include that time in calculations for the national minimum wage.

This means that members, and potential members, who sleep in and are low paid, may be entitled to a pay rise and possible back pay.

Inez Kirk
This issue will particularly affect low-paid members in the private or community and voluntary sector who do regular sleep-ins.

But probably not those working for Aberdeenshire council because they are paid above the minimum wage.

Here Inez Kirk, Branch Secretary explains the issue:

“The law states that all workers over the age of 25 should be paid the national living wage as set by Westminster. This rate is £7.50 per hour. This means that for every hour worked this rate should be paid.

“However, this does not mean that each hour during a sleep in should be paid £7.50.

“What it does mean is that the total number of hours worked and the total pay received for those hours should meet the living wage rate.

“So, for example, if you start work at 3pm and work until 11 then sleep in for 8 hours then work from 7 until 3, your total working hours are 24.

“If you then take the total amount of pay received and divide it by 24 and it comes to above £7.50 then your pay meets the level of the national living wage. If it is below £7.50 then the law has been broken and this has to be sorted and back pay given.

“So if you were on £9.77 per hour for the above shift you would be paid 16x£9.77 = £156.32  Plus sleep in £35.41 =  £191.73

“Then divide that by the total number of hours classed as working £191.73/24 = £7.99

“This shows that pay rate is within legislation.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Local Government pay deal agreed

CoSLA has agreed the 2017/18 pay award

The pay deal is..

• Employees earning less than £35,000 a £350* increase (*pro rata based on 37 hours)
• Employees earning more than £35,000 a 1 per cent increase.
• Scottish Local Government Living Wage is the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionable.

Letter to branches from Dougie Black, SJC Secretary:

I can now confirm that COSLA have at a Special Leaders Meeting now agreed the SJC Pay award for 2017/18 and the appropriate agreement for issuing to all local authorities is being drafted and will be distributed within the next few days.

The Leaders have also agreed to a joint approach to the Scottish Government making the case for additional resources for local government and if this was successful they recognise that additional money for future pay awards is a priority.

We will also be meeting with COSLA within the next few weeks to start preliminary discussions on a future Pay Strategy and hoping to conclude this by December this year.

Douglas Black
Regional Organiser/SJC Secretary
UNISON Scotland

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

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."

Friday, 26 May 2017

Kate elected to UNISON lay leadership

Kate Ramsden, Branch chair has been successfully elected onto the National Executive Council (NEC) of UNISON. This is the senior lay leadership of the union and Kate will represent Scottish members on this body. She will take up one of the two female seats after this year's National Delegate Conference in Brighton and will serve for two years.

Also elected to represent Scotland are: Davena Rankin, in the other female seat; Maggie Cook in the reserved seat; Stephen Smellie in the general seat and Jim McFarlane in the male seat.

Scotland's Gordon McKay, who previously represented Scotland in the male seat, has now been elected to the Health seat on the NEC.

Thanks to all those who voted!

UNISON Scotland website
Summary results in full

There for you - UNISON Welfare update May 2017 - School uniform grants

Families on low incomes can struggle to make ends meet, especially just before the start of the new school year.

UNISON’s scheme helps members on low incomes deal with the cost of school uniforms.
The 2017 school uniform grant is now available. You can find more information and an application form at this link on the UNISON UK site please ensure that UNISON has received this by July 21st.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

UNISON Scotland local government pay ballot now open - don't forget to vote

The pay ballot for UNISON council workers opens today until 30th May 2017. We are calling on all our members to use their vote and have their say. UNISON is campaigning for a YES vote.

Why should you vote in the pay ballot?
Your pay is worth far less now than ten years ago after years of pay restraint and inflation.
Local government workers are seeing their living standards squeezed as the prices of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise. This can not continue – you deserve more. You deserve fair pay.
To take action we need a 50% return on the ballot. Let's show the employers that we care about our pay and that we want decent pay.

What’s not fair?
While inflation indexes show how costs are rising, the impact on individual households is often worse. This cannot continue.
The employers have offered:
• Employees earning less than £35,000 a £350* increase (*pro rata based on 37 hours)
• Employees earning more than £35,000 a 1 per cent increase.
• Scottish Local Government Living Wage is the minimum pay for all pay and allowances including additional hours, contractual overtime and other allowances. It will be pensionable.

What is fair?
The employers’ offer falls far short of our claim. We asked for:
• A flat rate payment of £1,000 for all employees.
• The continued uprating of the Scottish Local Government Living Wage.
• A future pay strategy to identify and redress the imbalance caused by previous pay awards below the rate of inflation.

How do I vote?
UNISON recommends that you vote YES for strike action. Ballot papers along with a pre paid return envelope will be sent directly to members home addresses. If you do not receive a ballot paper then call the Ballot Helpline 08000 857 857 which will be open from 17 May – 25 May.

Am I being asked to strike?
Yes. This is a formal industrial action ballot. The consultative ballot that you previously took part in returned a very firm rejection of the employers offer.

What action might I be asked to take?
This will be determined by UNISON’s Scottish Local Government Committee later this month however it is likely that any programme of action will commence with a single day of action for all members.

Click here for UNISON Scotland resources

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

UNISON members to be balloted for industrial action – Voting opens 11 May & closes 30 May

A letter has been sent out to all members urging members to vote YES for industrial action in support of decent pay. Please note - the dates of the ballot have been changed to 11th May to 30th May 2017.

Dear Member
Following one of the highest returns in a full membership consultation, UNISON members voted overwhelmingly to REJECT the Employers’ offer (77.6% of those voting).

On this basis a decision was taken to proceed to a full Industrial Action ballot. Members have sent a clear message to say they have had enough of years of below inflation pay rises.

Members of UNITE The Union and GMB have both accepted the Employers’ offer, however the number of UNISON members rejecting the offer exceeds the total combined Local Government membership of these trade unions .

UNISON will continue to fight for FAIR PAY, putting our members at the heart of the campaign.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Members overwhelmingly reject pay offer - UNISON to ballot on industrial action

UNISON will ballot 70,000 local government members across every local authority in Scotland on industrial action.

The decision was announced at UNISON’s local government committee meeting on Monday following a consultative ballot which saw 77.6 per cent vote to reject the employers’ pay offer.
Dougie Black, regional organiser for UNISON Scotland, said: “Local government workers have suffered years of pay restraint and their pay is worth far less now than ten years ago. The cost of food, gas and electricity, travel and childcare continue to rise and, as a consequence, their living standards have been severely eroded. This can not continue.

“If pay had even just risen with inflation a home care worker, for example, would be paid £19,900 a year when instead they are paid just £16,900; an early years’ worker would receive £24,100 instead of £20,400 and a library assistant would earn £26,400 instead of £22,400. And that’s just to keep up with the cost of living.

“Fair pay remains a priority for UNISON. Our members are the cogs that keep local government services turning and they deserve to be treated fairly.”

Mark Ferguson, Chair of the Local Government Committee added, "The result of the ballot on SJC Pay resulted in an overwhelming rejection of the employers offer.

"The Local Government Committee met to consider this result and unanimously agreed to pursue a further ballot for industrial action to seek to force the employers to make an improved offer."

A Branch Secretaries meeting will be organised w/c 17th April at which further details of the consultative ballot outcome and the arrangements and campaign for the formal industrial action ballot will be outlined.

Friday, 7 April 2017

NEC Elections 2017 Please use your vote for the NEC - Branch nominations

Ballot papers will begin to land on doormats from 3rd to 28th April for the elections to UNISON's national ruling body, the National Executive Council (NEC).

Historically there is a very low turn-out for these elections despite their importance to the running of our union. The branch is urging all our members to vote in these elections.

Click here for information about all candidates and procedures

The choice of who you vote for is yours but you can click here to see who the branch has nominated and why.

Local Government Election 5th May 2017 - Branch writes to candidates to ask - Will you support public services and workers' rights?

The Scottish local government elections take place on Thursday 4 May 2017.

Local government has borne the brunt of austerity cuts over the last decade. UNISON is campaigning for fully resourced and accountable public services in local communities delivered by a fairly paid council workforce.

The branch has written to all candidates to ask them if they will support Scotland’s Fair Work Framework, which pledges that staff should have security, respect, fulfilment, opportunity and an effective voice at work.

If they will invest in public services and oppose the policy of austerity, which is starving essential wellbeing services of adequate funding.

If they will commit to keeping education, social care and other local public services, under direct local democratic control.

The branch will share the responses received and will let you know who has not replied. PLEASE CONSIDER THIS WHEN CASTING YOUR VOTE AND VOTE FOR CANDIDATES WHO WILL PROTECT PUBLIC SERVICES AND WORKERS' RIGHTS.

Click here to see responses

Click here for UNISON Scotland's Local Government Elections 2017 page

Friday, 17 March 2017

Online consultation on Pay Offer - Vote to REJECT

UNISON will be balloting members on the employers' latest pay offer via an online forum for the first time ever.

To register your vote, please click here. You will also find leaflets and posters explaining why the pay offer is not fair pay.

N.B. Please check your e mails and Junk folder for the ballot materials and to go to My UNISON to update your e mail addresses.

Click here for more information on the Branch website.

We are worth it! 

We are Worth Fair Pay.

Monday, 13 March 2017

UNISON Scotland Local Government Committee to consult on new pay offer with recommendation to REJECT

Local government employers have tabled a final pay offer and UNISON will now consult members on their views with a recommendation to REJECT this offer.
For the first time this will be an an online consultation.

UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Committee unanimously decided to recommend REJECTION of the offer. The committee also agreed to consult members in a digital online ballot commencing 17th March and closing at 12 noon on 7th April.

The employers upped the two previous offers to £350 flat rate for those earning up to £35,000 and 1% for those above, but it fell far short of the union’s demand for a flat rate across the board.

Dougie Black, UNISON lead negotiator, said: “The joint trade union position was united behind the need for only a flat rate claim and not a mixed offer.

"Since the offer was tabled the local government settlement had marginally improved. Previous offers had seen £250 up to £25,000 and 1%, then £300 up to £30,000 and 1% for those above.

“We had persuaded the employers to go back to the COSLA leaders and seek a fresh mandate on the basis of the trade union position.

"However this is nowhere near enough. Our flat rate claim of £1000 would have gone some way towards redressing the 14% fall in pay in real terms. This is a mere drop in the ocean, even for our low paid members."

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Stop the huge rises in SSSC fees for Scottish care workers and social workers

UNISON, Scotland’s largest public service union, has hit out after an announcement by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to hike registration fees.  These will see annual fees rise by 66% for social care support workers and 75% for supervisors, with rises of up to 166% for the most qualified staff.

The union says the decision will come as a blow to workers and add further negativity to a sector already blighted by low-pay; insecure employment; unsafe staffing levels; and poor career development.

Stephen Smellie, UNISON Scotland Depute Convener and Chair of the Social Work Issues Group has set up a petition calling for the SSSC to rethink and is calling on all registered or soon to be registered workers to sign it. As a branch we are urging our social work and social care members to sign the petition.

Click here to sign the petiton 

The SSSC registers workers across social care services including: social workers; social service workers; those managing and working in children’s services; day care and residential care.  The proposal for a rise in fees has been  approved by the Scottish Government  and will be applied in September.

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair and member of UNISON Scotland's Social Work Issues group said, “This is a slap in the face for hard-working social care and social work staff who are already facing a real-terms pay cut. An increase in fees is nothing more than a tax on compassion and we urge the SSSC to review their decision as a matter of urgency.

“Care could and should be a profession. We want a professional body with the standing and influence to recognise the value of care work and care workers – but this is not the case in Scotland.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Cornerstone recognition agreement returns negotiating rights to UNISON

Deborah Clarke
UNISON has signed the Joint Negotiation and Consultation Committee (JNCC) Terms of Reference: Collective Bargaining with Cornerstone.

Despite having a recognition agreement since 1995 Cornerstone introduced an Employee Forum 8 years ago which effectively removed all bargaining rights away from UNISON to this unelected staff body.

Deborah Clarke, UNISON Head of Community said, "As you know the relationship between UNISON and Cornerstone has been under considerable strain over the last six months, however we have now turned a corner and put UNISON back as the sole body with which Cornerstone negotiates and consults as per the recognition agreement.

"This is very good news. We have re written the Employee Forum Terms of Reference to remove any rights to negotiation and consultation. 

"The new EF:Terms of Reference were agreed by the board in January. This means that we are now better placed to represent the Cornerstone Members."

Deborah paid tribute to the Cornerstone stewards.

"These stewards have done an exceptional job over the last six months with this very difficult employer. This represents a huge success for our members."

Pay offer upped slightly but employers asked to think again

Union negotiators met CoSLA in the Steering Group on 14th February to start negotiations on pay.

Branch secretary and UNISON negotiator Inez Teece said, "We reached a point where the employers tabled a slightly different offer which was; £300 for those earning up to £30,000 and 1% for those above.

"The joint trade union position was united behind the need for only a flat rate claim and not a mixed offer. The employers position was that the new offer made was the limit of their mandate.

"We did however persuade the employers to go back to the COSLA Leaders Forum and seek a fresh mandate on the basis of the trade union position.

"We also made the point that since the offer was tabled the LG settlement had marginally changed and asked the employers to consider whether more money could be directed into the pay financial envelope.

"The Steering Group will next meet on 3rd March where we expect the employers to make a final offer."

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Pay Update 24th January 2017 - UNISON urges councils to agree decent pay rise now

Aberdeenshire UNISON branch, along with all the other council branches in Scotland, will be writing to the leaders of our councils urging them to make a decent pay offer to staff when they meet on 27th January.

This is the latest in UNISON Scotland's long running pay claim for council workers which was first submitted back in August 2016.

UNISON council branches will also lobby the CoSLA meeting on 27th January.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "Our claim has been in for 5 months now with NO response from CoSLA. It's a disgraceful way to treat hard-working staff.

"Council workers deserve a decent pay rise this year after years of falling living standards and we will continue to press the employers for a decent settlement."

Monday, 16 January 2017

Support staff struggling to maintain standards for pupils because of cuts, says UNISON's "Hard Lessons" report

Lack of time, resources and heavy workloads mean support staff are struggling to maintain standards for pupils in Scotland. That is the finding of a wide ranging UNISON report released on Monday 16 January 2017

In probably one of the biggest surveys of school support staff ever in Scotland, staff report heavier workloads, jobs cuts, lack of educational supplies, and dirtier schools. This is while pupil numbers and education support needs are increasing.

There are 6707 more pupils since 2010 in Scottish schools, but there 1841 less support staff and 1389 less teachers. This report confirms the enormous stress this puts on support staff.

54 per cent of support staff say budgets have been cut, 40 per cent carry out unpaid work to meet workloads, 60 per cent say morale is low, and 80 per cent say workloads are heavier. And services like school libraries are closing. Many report stress from the lack of training and support they receive for the tasks they are asked to carry out – like administering medicines or caring for pupils with challenging behaviour.

The report reveals a dedicated workforce committed to supporting children to reach their potential. Staff skip breaks and work late to meet their pupil’s needs. But they are exhausted, undervalued and under enormous pressure.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Come along to the aggregate AGMs on Weds 8th and 15th February. All members welcome.

All branch members are invited to attend the branch aggregate 2017 AGM at one of three meetings.

There will be a first meeting for our members in the Community and Voluntary Sector in the West of Scotland on Wednesday 8th February at 2-4pm in the UNISON Office, West Campbell Street with a light buffet provided.

The two local meetings will be held on Wed 15th February. The first will be held from 12noon to 2pm in Committee Room 4, Woodhill House, when a light lunch will be provided.

The second will be held from 6pm –9pm in the Kintore Arms, High Street, Inverurie, with a buffet & refreshments from 5.30.

Please come along if you can.

Click here for further details and for nomination forms for Branch Officer and steward posiitions.