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.

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