Sunday, 20 December 2015

Festive Greetings to all our members especially those providing vital services over the holiday period




















The branch wishes all our members a happy and peaceful festive season, especially to those delivering Aberdeenshire council's essential services over the holiday period.

For those who have time off, enjoy and recharge batteries for the challenges to come in the New Year!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

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

UNISON in Schools celebrated the work carried out by all of our school support staff on Friday 27th November as part of the Stars in our Schools event which is celebrated around 29th November.

Susan Kennedy
Susan Kennedy, Assistant Branch Secretary enabled several schools across Aberdeenshire to take part.

"This allowed 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.

Susan added, “I would personally like to thank all those Head Teachers who welcomed and joined in with this event.

“I was able to visit the new Alford and Ellon Campuses where all of the school staff have been busy over the past few months in preparation for the pupils.”

Neil Morison, Head Teacher at Portlethen academy said it was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with all his support staff and thank them for their hard work.

“Hopefully we will be able to get more schools involved with this event next year, so I look forward to that next autumn,” said Susan.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Branch joins St Andrew's Day March and Rally and welcomes refugees in the spirit of our shared humanity

St Andrews Day MarchThe branch joined almost two hundred trade unionists, politicians and members of faith and community groups at the Aberdeen St Andrew’s Day March and Rally on 28th November to give a clear and unequivocal message that  in the name of our shared humanity, refugees are welcome here in the North East of Scotland – racism and fascism are not!

As the march snaked down Union Street to the rhythm of the Guarana Drummers, passers by again stopped to watch the colourful procession created by the banners of trade unions and community groups, led as always by the red and white banner of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council, who organised the event.

RallyAt the rally in the Castlegate, speaker after speaker from trade unionists to community group members to politicians to a refugee, spoke passionately about our shared humanity with all those fleeing war, poverty and oppression.

Click here to read more on the ATUC blog.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Aberdeenshire UNISON joins council's political leaders to say no to the Trade Union Bill

Branch representatives joined Aberdeenshire councillors from the Labour, SNP, LibDem and Progressive Independent Groups on Monday 23rd November to stand together in opposition to the Trade Union Bill.

Kate Ramsden and Morag Lawrence join council leaders
to say no to Trade Union Bill
Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden said, "The Tory Trade Union Bill is the most draconian legislation against trade unions in the Western world and if it becomes law it will deny workers a voice at work, and their rights to support and representation.

"It is an attack not just on our hard won employment rights but on our human rights, including to be safe and healthy at our work.

"We are delighted that the political leadership of Aberdeenshire council values the important role that trade unions play in the workplace and has joined us in opposing the bill.

"We thank them for taking such a robust position against the Trade Union Bill."

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Come along to the Aberdeen St Andrews Day March and Rally on Sat 28th November and show that refugees are welcome in the North East

We are encouraging all our members to join us at the St Andrew's Day March and Rally,  on Saturday 28th November to give a clear message that refugees are welcome in the North East of Scotland but racism and fascism are not.

Gather at 11am in St Nicholas Churchyard, Unions Street and march off at 11.30 for a Rally in the Castlegate at 12 noon.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair, who will be chairing the Rally as President of the Aberdeen Trades Union Council said, "The theme of this year's event is that refugees are welcome here.

"This important message reflects the theme of the STUC March and Rally which will take place in Glasgow at the same time.

Click here for more information

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Branch goes to the "heart of government" and lobbies parliament to say no to the "unfair, undemocratic and unnecessary" trade union bill

Aberdeenshire branch joined thousands of trade unionists in London on 2nd November in a mass lobby of MPs calling on them to vote against the Trade Union Bill.

Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden was the sole branch delegate after Inez Teece, Susan Kennedy and Steven Gray were left stranded in Aberdeen as fog in London cancelled flights from around the country.

Kate joined forces with Deirdre Macdonald of Aberdeen City Branch whose colleagues were also stranded in Aberdeen.
 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Branch joins 100,000 marchers to say NO to cuts and YES to workers' rights

Branch delegates travelled to Manchester on 4th October to join the TUC march and demonstration against austerity and against the Trade Union bill, on the first day of the Tory Party Conference.

Click here to see more photos on picasa

Tens of thousands of trade unionists joined other activists and protesters to give a loud and clear message to the Tories - "We will not stand by and see the poor and vulnerable targetted with cuts whilst the richest in the UK double their wealth. We will not stand by and see workers' rights and human rights trod underfoot by a government of the rich, for the rich."

As the sun shone the marchers made a colourful display as they snaked through the streets of Manchester. The Tories meantime, hid themselves away behind a "ring of steel" - barriers and security to keep away real people.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Local government members vote to accept two year pay deal

Over 85% of Scottish local government members voting in the pay ballot have accepted a two year offer with a new Living Wage deal. Staff will now get a 1.5% rise from 1 April 2015 and 1% from April 2016.

Importantly, the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.85 per hour will be put in place before the 1.5% rise, making it £7.97 an hour.

And in April 2016, the Living Wage will be increased to the recommended figure of the Living Wage Foundation, again before the 1% rise. There will also be talks on removing the pay points below the Living Wage level.

Negotiators succeeded in getting the initial offer of two years at 1.25% front-loaded to 1.5% in 2015 which is above inflation and slightly increases the value of the 1% in 2016. In August inflation was 0.0% on the Consumer Prices Index and 1.1% on the Retail Prices Index.

Aberdeenshire Council stands with the unions against the Trade Union Bill and will not end facility time and check-off

The Partnership Administration of Aberdeenshire Council has written to the Branch to confirm that they support the continuation of check-off (whereby union members can pay their union subscriptions from their salary) and also support facility time.

They have stated that "the Partnership has no intention of supporting the use of agency staff in the unlikely event of any industrial action."

The Branch has welcomed this commitment from the Partnership Administration and looks forward to working alongside them to defeat the Trade Union Bill.

The full text of the letter is below.

It comes as CoSLA, the umbrella body for councils in Scotland also pledged "to stand shoulder to shoulder with their trade union colleagues against the UK Government's Trade Union Bill."

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Branch urges Aberdeenshire Councillors to work with the union and oppose the Trade Union Bill

The Branch has urged Aberdeenshire Council's elected members to work with the trade unions to defeat the Trade Union Bill currently under debate at Westminster.

Branch delegates will take part in a mass demonstration at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester on Sunday 4th October, to join our voice with all those calling for the Bill to be dropped.

The Branch has also called on all our members, families, friends and the public to sign the petition against the bill.

And to write to your MP calling for them to oppose it in parliament.

Inez Teece
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary has written to all councillors calling for them to "help to prevent this Bill being enacted, by influencing your party, your constituents and both Holyrood and Westminster Governments."

She warned that the Bill will, if adopted, introduce the most draconian restrictions on workers’ rights within the Western world.

"I believe if Trade Unions were restricted in such a way by the Trade Union Bill, local authorities would be more vulnerable because they would not have trade unions fighting alongside."

The full text of the letter is below.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Branch calls on members to ask their MP to oppose the Trade Union Bill - an attempt to silence workers' voices

Aberdeenshire UNISON is calling on all our members to take action now to defend hard won trade union rights as part of a campaign to oppose the Trade Union Bill. Please wrote to your MPs and sign the petition by using the links below. It has never been more important to speak up before our voice is silenced.

https://secure.goingtowork.org.uk/page/speakout/will-your-mp-protect-the-right-to-strike-

And to take action by signing the petition against the bill.

UNISON is working with the other trade unions  to protect members' rights by opposing the Trade Union Bill, which represents one of the most aggressive anti-trade union laws ever proposed in a Western democracy and restricts rights protected by international law in England, Scotland and Wales.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Branch says refugees are welcome here and pledges support

The branch has joined UNISON Scotland and many other trade unions and civic groups and has pledged to support the refugees fleeing from war and oppression in Syria and other war torn countries.

We encourage all our member to do what you can to support the local group, Aberdeen Solidarity with Refugees, which has been collecting donations of clothes, bedding and other essentials to take to Calais.

UNISON Scotland has also pledged support to refugees and has welcomed the Scottish Government's commitment to do moreon a cross party basis.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Pay offer made - 1.5% this year, 1% next year and new deal on Living Wage. Ballot starts 2 September. Make sure you vote

Following months of negotiations, the Scottish Employers have made UNISON and the other SJC trade unions a final pay offer for council staff as follows:
  • A pay agreement which covers the period from 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2017
  • 2015 -2016. As of 1st April 2015, the Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.85ph will be applied, following which there will be an increase of 1.5% on all spinal column points. This would achieve a Scottish Local Government Living Wage of £7.97ph
  • 2016 – 2017. As of 1st April 2016, the Living Wage will be increased to the recommended figure of the Living Wage Foundation, following which there will be an increase of 1% on all spinal column points.
  • A commitment from the employers to examine the feasibility of a ‘flat rate’ settlement in future pay rounds subject to the trade unions making such a claim.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

UNISON Personal Learning Development Grants for school support staff members

Are you a Schools Support worker? Do you want to learn something new? Or are you keen develop your career?

UNISON is piloting Personal Learning Development Grants for Schools Support Staff and is offering 10 awards of up to £300 each to help pay for course fees.

Hurry apply now! Click here for an application form. Applications must be in by 27th August.

Susan Kennedy
Susan Kennedy, Aberdeenshire UNISON Assistant Branch Secretary said, "We know how difficult it is to afford training to improve your job prospects due to huge increases in course fees and the withdrawal by many employers of financial support for career development. 

"Our Schools Support Staff members make up an increasing proportion of our union’s membership. 

"To help you get on at work and develop your career, UNISON is piloting Personal Learning Development Grants for Schools Support Staff.  10 awards of up to £300 each are offered to help pay for course fees.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Scotland United Against Austerity, George Square, Glasgow - a truly historic event

#ScotlandAgainstAusterity Aberdeenshire Branch members joined over 5000 people at the anti-austerity rally in George Square, Glasgow on Saturday 20th June.

Over 5000 gather to demand an end to austerity
Trade unions, political parties and community groups brought their banners and placards in a colourful display, all with one message. End austerity - it only benefits the rich.

They were part of a day of demonstrations against austerity with almost 250,000 thronging the streets of London to give the same message to this Tory Government. Austerity doesn't work and austerity hits the poorest and most vulnerable hardest. End austerity NOW.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair, who attended the rally said, "With inspiring speeches, great music and even some sunshine, it was a great event.

Conference calls for unity to expose the Tory lies and to protect public services

#uNDC15 UNISON's National Delegate Conference, held in Glasgow from 16-19 June 2015 was all about unity this year as delegates faced up to the fight of our lives - against a Tory government hell-bent on slashing public services and cutting benefits to our most vulnerable, whilst doing nothing to ensure the richest pay their fair share in tax.
Dave Prentis
General Secretary, Dave Prentis gave an inspirational speech and got a standing ovation as he condemned a vicious and vindictive Tory government and called for unity to fight for a better future for our members. He pledged to stand shoulder to shoulder with members on strike and warned employers "if you come after our activists we will take you on. An injury to one is an injury to all.

Join together and fight to protect public services and public service workers

#uLGC15 UNISON's Local Government Conference held in Glasgow from 15-16 June 2015, was all about the protection of public services and public service workers as delegates heard horror stories of the impact of the cuts on our members and on the people to whom they provide services.

Branch delegates,
Kate Ramsden and Ann Gray

We heard that huge numbers of our members are not paid the living wage and many are struggling to survive on low pay, insecure employment and zero hours contracts.

The effect of the cuts has meant that those in work are having to do more with less, affecting their work life balance with many going off with stress. Austerity has also had an impact on health and safety at work, and has had a huge impact on equalities with gains for women, black, disabled and LGBT workers being eroded daily. Young people have taken a terrible hit with unemployment higher amongst the 16-25 year olds that in any other age group.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Branch members join hundreds to celebrate May Day and march for equality, social justice and workers rights

Branch members joined more than five hundred people from trade unions and campaigning groups, including a number of key local politicians and friends of the ATUC, to march along Union Street on Saturday 2nd March to celebrate International Workers’ Day and to call for an end to austerity.

Led off by the Guarana Drummers, the march was both colourful and noisy as banners and placards were held aloft and marchers moved to the beat of the drums.

Passersby stopped to watch, wave and to take photos, and to show their support for the marchers. Somewhere along the route, the sun came out and the weather stayed fine and Springlike as marchers gathered for an outdoor rally at the Castlegate.

Branch Chair and Vice President of the ATUC compered the Rally where speaker after speaker called for an end to austerity and solidarity across borders.

Click here for a full report of the march and rally on the ATUC site

Click here to see more May Day pics on picasa

Workers' Memorial Day - We owe it to the memories of those who have died to fight for the rights of working people

Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden and our two Health and Safety Officers, Richard Lawrence and Tricia Morrison attended the Workers' Memorial Day Service at Persley Gardens, Aberdeen on 28th April where they joined other Trade Unionists, politicians and citizens in a poignant ceremony.

Kate, in her role as Vice President of the Aberdeen Trades union Council, led the ceremony and also spoke on behalf of the ATUC.

Click here for a full report of the service.

Friday, 24 April 2015

STUC Congress 2015 - Branch activists again take key role at STUC

Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden and Assistant Branch Secretary, Susan Kennedy were both elected as UNISON delegates to this year's STUC Congress in Ayr from 20-22 April and both spoke in the debate.


All reports of UNISON speakers in the debate can be seen on the UNISON Scotland website and blog.


Susan Kennedy
House building and living rent to fix housing crisis
UNISON Scotland’s Susan Kennedy, backing the USDAW, UCATT and North Lanarkshire and Aberdeen trade union councils’ motion, said Scotland has a ‘housing crisis’.

Susan also spoke on the importance of additional support for learning in tackling disadvantage and the report will be made available as soon as possible.




Kate Ramsden
End 1 in 5 children living in poverty in Scotland
UNISON Scotland's Kate Ramsden supporting an USDAW motion said that that the STUC had highlighted as far back as 2010 that cuts and austerity would lead to a rise in the numbers of children in poverty.

Kate, in her role as member of the Scottish Communications and Campaigns Committee, also wrote many on the STUC reports on the UNISON Scotland website and blog.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Join us at the Aberdeen May Day March and Rally on Sat 2nd May 2015 - Austerity doesn't work

Celebrate International Workers Day on Saturday 2nd May. Join with us in a family friendly march down Union Street to demonstrate your opposition to austerity, which the past five years have shown just doesn't work for ordinary people or for the economy. Only the already very rich are doing well.

The 2015 May Day March and Rally will gather at Rubislaw Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen at 10.30am.

Organised by Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC), it will march off at 11.00am down the full length of Union Street, to a Rally in the Castlegate at 12 noon where there will be a variety of speakers including trade unions, politicians and community activists.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Come along to the Workers' Memorial Day Tuesday 28 April 2015 1pm

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

What is Workers Memorial Day?
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. Although this has been fairly consistent over the past few years it remains 20 too many.
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.

Friday, 27 March 2015

UNISON welcomes decision in Edinburgh social work contempt of court case

UNISON Scotland today welcomed the decision by the Court of Session that the conduct of social workers in Edinburgh City Council did not amount to contempt and that the decision of the Sheriff is quashed.

John Stevenson of UNISON’s City of Edinburgh Branch said:

"The court has recognised complex and difficult decisions social workers have to take in their work in protecting the welfare of children. We hope this decision will assist in providing some clarity for them in exercising their duty in good faith to hold the child's interests as paramount".

"UNISON backed our members from the beginning and we are glad that the long months of uncertainly are now over for them. We have already briefed our members throughout Scotland as this process has continued and we will further brief them on any implications for practice arising from this judgement. We would also acknowledge the support and assistance the City of Edinburgh Council gave to our members throughout this matter”

1. The full decision of the Court of Session can be read here https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/search-judgments/judgment?id=63d8cea6-8980-69d2-b500-ff0000d74aa7

2. UNISON’s statement at the time of the decision setting out our concerns over the Sheriff’s decision http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/news/2013/novdec/1216.htm

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Branch to the fore at special conference as fight for fair pay goes on

Branch officers played a key role as UNISON local government delegates from across the UK met at a special conference in London.

The conference was called primarily to debate the lessons of the recent pay campaign in England and Wales and agree a set of strong proposals to increase member engagement and democratic participation in every aspect of future pay campaigns. However Scotland had an important part to play as we shared the lessons from our own pay campaign.

Delegates backed two motions from Scotland. The first called for our bargaining and industrial strategies for fair pay to be allied with a consistent, sustained and coherent political strategy, aimed at addressing the “30 years trends of suppressing wages...”

Aberdeenshire UNISON urges home care members to tell it like it is at council meetings

Aberdeenshire UNISON is urging all our Home Care members to get along to the council's meetings, which have been set up in response to serious concerns from UNISON members and others that the new Buddy phone is not fit for purpose and could put vulnerable clients at risk.

See dates and times of meetings below.

These meetings will take place around Aberdeenshire in March and April. UNISON will be in attendance at all these meetings. The Branch has already raised a number of our members' issues with Home Care management and has issued a survey to all our members asking for their views on a range of terms and conditions matters including the Buddy.

If you have a survey that you have not yet completed, please do so and send it back to the branch in the freepost envelope you were sent out with the survey, as we need this as evidence to take to our employer.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Management promises better consultation on changes to the Community Learning and Development service

Branch talks with Aberdeenshire's Education and Children’s Services, on behalf of UNISON members in CLD have culminated in a commitment to better communication and consultation with staff on proposed changes for the delivery of community learning services.

Senior management has also agreed to meet with all staff, although a date for this in March was cancelled and a further date is awaited.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Aberdeenshire UNISON Nursery Nurse Working Group - a voice for members

Aberdeenshire UNISON has set up a Nursery Nurse Working Group to give members a voice in dealing with the impact of the government’s changes to deliver 600 hours nursery provision to each child.

Two Nursery Nurse members’ meetings were held in February to discuss these changes and their effect on our members and the services they provide.

UNISON members have had their administration time and their lunch breaks reduced to enable the extra hours to be delivered within their 35 hour working week.

The Working Group will now be sending a report to Aberdeenshire Council to highlight the issues around the 600 hours and the current situation which has seen the removal of teaching staff. The group would ideally like a voice and practitioner representation on the Early Years groups.
          

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Holiday Pay update - Branch urges members to act NOW if you think you have a claim

The branch has once again written to all members urging them to get in touch immediately with the UNISON office on 01224 620624 for a Holiday Pay Case Form if you believe you have a claim for additional holiday pay. Because of legal time limits, this must be completed and returned no later than Friday 20th March.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, "The council is looking to settle the issue over holiday pay, particularly for certain allowances and additional hours that in the past have not been included in holiday pay.

Inez Teece
"These include overtime, additional hours, weekend working rate, night working rate, public holiday rate, standby, call out, sleep in, registrar's allowance, accompanying residents on holiday, home tuition, twilights payments and music centre duties.

"However the council only plans to backdate these payments to 1st January 2015.

"UNISON believes that many workers will have valid claims that should be backdated further. For example if you took annual leave over the Christmas period and your holiday pay didn't include additional holiday payments based on the above allowances, you won't get a backdated payment for them under the council's current proposals.

"If you think that you do have a claim you must contact immediately. We will not be able to pursue a claim for you unless we receive a Holiday Pay Case form by 20th March as legal time limits will kick in. It is members' responsibility to complete the form and return it to us with the documents required.

"Please make sure that you don't lose out!"

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Branch to revisit Children and Families Social Work teams

The Branch will once again make workplace visits to all the Children and Families Social Work Teams across Aberdeenshire in January and February, to recognise the work of our members and to recruit more social work staff to the union.

This is a follow up to last year's very successful visits and is at members' request.

Lyndsey Wallace, Local Organiser said, "We will once again be taking round cupcakes for our members to thank them for the work they do to protect our most vulnerable children and their families.

"We also want to encourage non-members to join UNISON to have the protection of the union behind them as they undertake the increasingly complex but very important work that they do."

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair and herself a social worker added, "UNISON promotes this important role of our members in social work and we believe that we have had some success in improving the profile of social work in the media and in promoting a better understanding of the work done by social work members and the pressures they face."

Click here to read more

UNISON seeks talks with management amidst concerns about new “Buddy” phones

Aberdeenshire UNISON is to meet with home care management to discuss the concerns of members in South and Central Aberdeenshire about the new “Buddy” phones, which the council has issued to home carers.

At a packed meeting of both members and non-members in Inverurie on 12th Feb 2015, staff told how these phones are not properly programmed, break down regularly and of their worries that these could put both service users and carers at risk.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair, who organised the meeting following requests from home care members said, “The issues raised at that meeting have now been sent to management. We have also sent a copy of the report to all home care members across Aberdeenshire and we are urging them to get in touch to let us know of their experience of the “Buddy” and whether it chimes with the concerns expressed by the carers who attended on 12th.”

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary added, "The council is also planning a series of meetings with home care staff across Aberdeenshire, which UNISON will attend, and we are urging all our members to get along to these meetings, to pass on their concerns direct to senior management."

Click here to read the full story

Friday, 20 February 2015

Branch will raise profile at monthly stalls and surgeries

Steve and steward James Mulholland
at a previous stall at Gordon House
Branch stewards, with the support of Steve Gray, our Branch Development Officer, and Lyndsey Wallace, our full-time local organiser, will be holding regular stalls and surgeries in Woodhill House, Gordon House, Inverurie and Viewmount in Stonehaven.

Steve said, "We hope that this will raise UNISON's profile across the council. We think that it's very important for members to know when UNISON stewards will be available for discussions, queries or just for a chat, and for non-members to know where they can find out more about the union, and most importantly, how to join.

"As a workforce we face many challenges over the coming years and it has never been more important to be in a union and to get involved in your union.

"We do hope that members and their colleagues will take this opportunity to come and meet us and hear more."

The dates for the surgeries are below:

Aberdeenshire UNISON AGM - campaigning for public services and the people who provide them

Members at this year's aggregate Aberdeenshire UNISON AGM, condemned the Tory led Westminster government's failed austerity measures which threaten to dismantle the public services we all rely on.

Members backed the branch in campaigning for decent pay, for a living wage for those in services contracted by the council, for a living rent and affordable housing for all, and for measures to combat austerity and to tackle the growing inequality in our country which "is not just bad for the poorest and most vulnerable, but is bad for the economy too."

Members also called on the Scottish Government to end the council tax freeze which has cost more than £2.5 billion and benefits the better off the most.
            
The well attended AGM was held on Wednesday 18th February 2015 across two meetings, the first in Woodhill House over lunchtime and the second in the evening in the Kintore Arms, Inverurie.

Click here for a full report on the Aberdeenshire Branch website.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Cuts impact “devastating” says UNISON - speaking up for services and the people who deliver them

Aberdeenshire UNISON has warned that the council’s planned cuts over the next five years will hit jobs and services hard and will continue to have a devastating impact on the quality of life in Aberdeenshire, especially for our most vulnerable.

The branch has called on Aberdeenshire councillors to minimise job losses and to keep their commitment to no compulsory redundancies and to maintain services to the most vulnerable.

Branch Secretary Inez Teece said, “We recognise that the council is in a difficult position, especially with the continued council tax freeze and we would urge the Scottish Government to reconsider this as we have shown that it only benefits the better off.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

REMINDER: Aberdeenshire UNISON AGM on Wed 18th February

The Aberdeenshire Branch AGM will be held on WEDNESDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2015 12noon till 2pm in Woodhill House, Aberdeen and 7-9pm in the Kintore Arms, Inverurie.

There are 2 venues and times to enable members to attend.  Firstly 12-2pm at Committee Room 4, Woodhill House, and later from 7-9 p.m. at the Kintore Arms, Inverurie.  The Agenda and other papers have been sent out and can be found on the Branch website.

Dave Watson
Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser and Head of Bargaining and Campaigns will be at both AGMs to talk about our new pension scheme, and other local and Scottish issues.

Branch Secretary, Inez Teece said, "The AGM is your chance to have your say on the issues of the moment and gives you a chance to raise issues or discuss concerns with Branch Officers. 

"A buffet will be available at both venues and members of the Branch Committee will be on hand to answer any questions or just to chat.

"We very much hope that you will come along and look forward to seeing you there."


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Aberdeenshire UNISON success at Scottish Communication Awards

Following on from their success at last year's Scottish Communications Awards, the branch has won a silver and a bronze at this year's awards.

Kate Ramsden receives silver award from
Sara McLelland UIA
The branch took the UIA sponsored second prize in the Best Campaigns category, for the campaign to recruit members in Children and Families Social Work teams, with the Branch newsletter awarded a bronze award sponsored by the TC Branding Group in the best publications section.

Certificates were presented to Inez Teece who received it on behalf of Morag Lawrence, Newssheet Editor and Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair at UNISON's Scottish Council Meeting of branches on Saturday 7th February 2015, along with cheques totalling £150 for the branch.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Dumped on: more work for less pay for members working in waste management

UNISON Scotland has put together a series of reports on how austerity is hitting public services and how we can protect them. Its latest "damage report" looks at our members in waste management in Local Authorities.

Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden said, "I am sure this will ring bells for members working in Aberdeenshire's waste management service.

"The report tells a story of increasing pressure of work at the same time as the value of wages is decreasing. Members are having to work overtime to make ends meet.

"Like other local government workers those in waste management have suffered years of either zero or below average pay rises. In the UNISON survey, staff at all grades, even managerial, report having to make efforts to economise."
"We are shopping around for food, fuel, clothes - to get the best deals, no holidays, having to keep cars longer."

Monday, 19 January 2015

Design and photography services to stay in-house after UNISON pressure

Aberdeenshire Council has ditched plans to outsource its design and photography service after the branch sent a briefing out to all councillors making the case for in-house provision. The design service will now be formally reviewed by the council.

Inez Teece
Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, “We are very pleased that the council listened to UNISON’s concerns and has agreed to keep the design and photography services in-house. We made the case that outsourcing rarely if ever saves money and often creates more expense if services, as often happens, have to be brought back in house.

“We are disappointed that the council still plans to outsource the print service and we will continue to make the arguments that this is a mistake which may very well come back to bite the council and council tax payers.

"We are also concerned that outsourcing the printing of confidential material risks breaches and we hope the council will not fall foul of this, given the sensitivity of some of its information both personal and commercial."

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Aberdeenshire Branch AGM 18th Feb 2015 - PLEASE NOTE NEW ARRANGEMENTS

Aberdeenshire Branch 2015 AGM will be held on Wed 18th February as two meetings this year, the first in Committee Room 4 in Woodhill House from 12-2pm; the second in the Kintore Arms, Inverurie from 7pm-9pm. (Buffet from 6.30pm)

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available at both events.

Dave Watson
Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Bargaining and Campaigns will speak at both meetings on pensions, the Ethical Care Charter etc.

This will also be your chance to hear what the Branch has been doing and to have a say in how the Branch is run.

Please come along and hear Dave speak and find out what the Branch has been doing and tell us what you think
 
Go to the Branch website for more information, stewards and Branch Officers nomination forms and reports of previous AGMs.