Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Calling all Young Members

If you are under 27 then you can get involved with the Young Members committee and the next meeting is scheduled to take place on 12.30pm on Saturday 4 February and any young member who wishes to attend then please contact Karen Davidson the Branch Secretary or Graham Smith Chair of the Young Members Committee on gw.smith@unison.co.uk and he will pass on your details to the branch so we can offer assistance.

We also want to promote the Young Members AGM & Training Weekend which is scheduled for the weekend of 9-11 March 2012. This weekend is a great opportunity for any new young members to find out more about the trade union movement, about UNISON and to meet other like-minded young members.

If any young member who is interested then please contact Karen via unison@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Peter Smyth
Communications Officer

A Big Thank You

Can we thank everyone who joined us on November the 30th, the fight for decent pensions for all our members goes on and later on this week we will have a series of pictures from the day up and linked to the site.

We were proud of all our members who withdrew their labour on the day and thanks to you we were able to be part of the largest industrial action in the country in decades.

Peter Smyth
Communications Officer

Friday, November 4, 2011

A message from Dave Prentis

A message from Dave Prentis,
UNISON general secretary
250,000 vote Yes to protect their pensions

UNISON members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action to protect their pensions in the biggest ballot we have ever held.

Almost 250,000 public service workers including nurses, teaching assistants, social workers, care assistants, paramedics, police staff, school dinner ladies, probation workers and cleaners posted back ballot papers that said Yes to protecting their pensions.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the work you've done in getting that Yes vote.

A total of 245,747 voted Yes, comprising 171,428, or 76% in the local government pension scheme 73,930, or 82% in the NHS pension scheme and 389 or 87% in the principal civil service pension scheme.

Each service group executive - local government, health, police and justice, community, higher education and water, environment and transport - has unanimously agreed to go ahead with strike action on 30 November co-ordinated with other TUC unions.

That has been authorised by the union's industrial action committee.

Despite statements in Parliament, we have not yet received an offer on pensions, but we are willing to negotiate any time, any place.
Thanks again for the work you have done to protect public service pensions. Now let's keep up the pressure and work to make 30 November a resounding success.

Keep up to date with the campaign by visiting our website at unison.org.uk/pensions/protectour.asp.

Dave Prentis
UNISON general secretary

Posted by Peter Smyth communications officer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Urgent Spam / phishing email

It has come to our attention that a number of members have received an email purporting to be from UNISON, asking them to register and download a form to update their membership details online.

The links within this email take users to a "phishing" site, which is a fraudulent copy of UNISON's 'update your details' pages and data entered here may be captured.

Please be aware that members should not access these links.

We are urgently investigating this incident and would like to assure our members that we make every effort to ensure that all online systems are secure.

Please also rest assured that this attempt to undermine members' confidence in UNISON's security network has not interfered with or affected our very stringent balloting processes and will in no way undermine the work we do to support our members during this very important time.

A warning message is being posted on the 'join online' and 'update your details' pages of the UNISON website, and a further security message will be added to these pages. This will remind members to only access their membership details by directly logging on to https://my.unison.org.uk and not via a link in any emails they may receive.

Dave Prentis
UNISON general secretary

Posted by Peter Smyth communications officer

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pensions Meetings

PENSION MEETING - Wednesday 19th October 5pm Committee Room 4
Your pension is under threat - VOTE YES

Your pension is under attack. Not because your pension scheme is
unaffordable or even because people are living longer - it's to pay for
the deficit caused by an irresponsible banking system.

That's why we're asking you to vote for strike action to protect your

You will be getting a ballot paper this week. Please come along to our
meeting on Wednesday 19th October at 5pm Committee room 4 in the Townhouse to hear why it is so important that you vote for strike action to protect your pension.

The UK government has already cut the value of your pension when you
retire by around 15% by changing the way inflation is measured from RPI
to CPI.

Following a strong campaign by UNISON members, the Scottish Government
has said it will not impose the UK Government's plan to increase
contributions by an average of 50% - and we welcome that. However, they
have not given us clear assurances that other changes, initiated by the
UK Government, will not happen in the Local Government Pension Scheme in

You are already suffering a pay freeze, redundancies, cuts in pay and
conditions and cuts in the services you deliver. This attack on your
pension is the final straw. We need to take a stand across the UK to
say enough is enough.

So, please come along to hear why you should Vote YES to protect your

A second Meeting has been organised for Wednesday 26th at Woodhill House Westburn Road between 4-6 (please note the different date from the letter sent out)

Peter Smyth
Communications Officer

Monday, October 3, 2011

Local Government Pension Scheme Ballot.

UNISON is asking its members to vote YES in the ballot for industrial
action to protect public sector pensions.

Scottish Ministers have said they will not impose the UK Ministers
plan to increase contributions. However,  they have given no assurances on
other changes including making you work longer and changing the way
your pension is calculated so you will get a smaller pension on retirement.
UK Ministers have already cut the value of your pension when you
retire and are also planning to impose further changes on Scotland through UK legislation.

Public service pay has been frozen while inflation soars. There have
been widespread redundancies, cuts to pay and conditions and closures
of the vital services our communities rely on.

This unprecedented attack on pensions is the final straw.

UNISON is balloting for strike action initially to start on 30

We are also working with other trade unions and community groups to
organise local and national protests in support of public sector

We need a big YES vote and a high turnout to send a clear and united
message to ministers that "enough is enough" and to help persuade them
to withdraw their current unfair and unjustified attacks on pensions.

The ballot opens on 11 October and closes on 3 November.

Please spread the word so that your colleagues in UNISON vote YES in
the ballot. There are posters and leaflets to put up and hand out, and
plenty of information on our websites. There will be a ballot hotline
open from 17-31 October on 0845 355 0845.
Please vote YES to protect your pension.

Monday, September 26, 2011

People First

The Details of the People First March in Aberdeen are listed below.

10.30 am Assemble at Rubislaw Terrace (Opposite Harlaw Academy)
11.00 am March down Union Street to Arts Centre
12.00 Noon Rally at Arts Centre

Further details will be posted later but come and join us on Saturday at 10.30.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scottish Budget

Today the Finance Minister John Swinney has announced the next 3 years spending settlement. As they say the devil is in the detail and it will be over the next few days that we are able to digest the detail that has been announced but one of the headlines needs immediate comment on.

In the Budget the Mr Swinney announced another pay freeze on local government workers which will mean that yet again some of the lowest paid workers are going to be paying for the problems that our country is facing caused by irresponsible bankers.

All a pay freeze does is take money out of the local economy, as 70p of every £1 earned by a public sector worker is spent locally.

As the more detail is announced on the budget then more information will be posted.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pensions meeting

A great post from Kate Ramsden of Aberdeenshire Unison on last nights pension meeting.


Peter Smyth
Communications officer

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Live blog

So join us on twitter at twitter.com/abdncityUNISON for the live twitter feed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Protect your pensions

Public service workers from across Aberdeen will join together this week to discuss attacks on their pensions and plans to defend them.
UNISON, Scotland’s largest union in public services, together with Unite, GMB and EIS have called the mass meeting on Thursday, July 14, to outline plans to protect members’ pension rights. Staff from north-east NHS, police support staff, teachers and local council employees will all be in attendance.
The UK Government is proposing to increase pension contributions by 50 per cent, raise the retirement age and change the way pensions are indexed from RPI to CPI – resulting in a cut of 15 per cent. However, as pension regulation is devolved to the Scottish Parliament, MSPs can choose to reject the UK plans and protect quality pensions in Scotland.
Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said: “UNISON is in discussions with both the UK and Scottish governments about its unfair and unnecessary changes to our members’ pensions which would see them working longer, paying more and getting less. These changes amount to nothing more than a pensions’ tax on public service workers, who are being left to pay the price for bailing out the bankers.
“These proposals would make saving for retirement unaffordable and out of reach for those we most depend on to clean our hospitals, care for the sick and elderly and teach our children.
“The Scottish Government has a choice to make and it’s a simple one; reject the UK Government’s unfair attack on the pensions of hard-working people and protect quality pension provision for Scotland’s public service workers.”
Posted by Peter Smyth
Communications Officer

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Pension News

Scottish Government attack pensions increase

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney MSP made a statement to Parliament that increased pension contributions will place an unnecessary burden on public service workers who are already suffering from pay restraint and rising living costs. He also said that this would damage the Scottish economy, undermining consumer confidence. UNISON Scotland welcomed this recognition from the Scottish Government of the unfair and unnecessary attacks on public service workers’ pensions by the UK government.

However, the statement was less clear on those pension matters that are the responsibility of the Scottish Government – including pension contribution increases. He set out the limitations of his powers in relation to the NHS scheme and confirmed his greater flexibility in relation to the local government scheme (LGPS). The financial numbers he gave were somewhat confused and he avoided MSP questions on the cost in relation to the LGPS.

In a letter to UNISON he states that he is waiting on developments at UK level while continuing the dialogue in Scotland. Negotiations with the UK government are continuing into July. UNISON will argue that the Scottish Government must face up to the challenges facing Scottish workers and will urge him not to blindly follow the ConDem’s plans.

Taken From UNISON's Scottish Pensions Bulletin No24

And remember Join Us on the 14th at the Beach Ballroom 5-7pm

Peter Smyth
Communications Officer

Monday, July 4, 2011

Protect YOUR Pension

Do You Want To Pay More for Your Pension While getting less and working longer?

DO you think its fair that the government plans to take £4 Billion out of YOUR pension Schemes to pay for the financial crisis caused by fat cat bankers?

No, then come and join us at the Beach Ballroom on Thursday 14th July at 5pm, The meeting to be Addressed by UNISON's Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby.

For more information on UNISON's Campaign then please go here

So Remember THURSDAY 14th JULY 5-7pm Beach Ballroom

Communications Officer

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Trip to London

Well for those of you who didn't watch the TV this weekend you might not have seen that 500,000 people peacefully marched through the streets of london to show that their is an alternative.

We left Aberdeen 39 of us a mixture of Unison, Unite, GMB and NUS all wanting to show that Aberdeen said no and after a 12 Hour bus ride we arrived at Paddington Station just a quick tube ride away from the Embankment and the start of the March.

Over on our flickr site you will be able to see the pictures taken of the day, some in focus and some not but all of them of all of us fighting to ensure that the voice of Aberdeen was heard in the march.

A big thanks everyone involved, To Charlie and John for carrying our new branch Banner, to Isobel and Wendy from Alford Place for adding to the pictures of the day and to Anne Begg MP for getting through the crowds to welcome us to London.

It was a great day and a great march and the Branch was proud to be part of it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Message from Dave Prentis

A message from Dave Prentis,
UNISON General Secretary

Your pensions are at risk

You may have seen some of the media coverage today of the Hutton report into public sector pensions. I have been interviewed on national BBC TV, Channel 4, ITV, the Today programme, 5 Live, many regional radio stations and by the newspapers.

See our press releases, put out to the media this morning, on our website. I wanted to let you know personally how your pensions and those of your members are being placed at risk by the government. The coalition government has shown contempt for Hutton.

Even before he finished his inquiry, the government decided to increase contributions by more than 50%, at a time when pay is being frozen, inflation is rising and our members' jobs are threatened with cuts and privatisation.

Additionally, the value of members' pensions has been reduced because the government changed the method of calculating annual inflation increases so pensions will increase by less than retail prices.

Hutton is recommending that public sector schemes move from final salary pensions to career averages and that members work longer. This will mean a lower pension because it is based on an average of how much members earn each year rather than on final salary.

And the move to the lower CPI method of calculating inflation undermines the career average scheme, so everyone will be worse off.

You and your members already have to pay more. I am convinced that the government will use this merely to cut costs and benefits. Whatever Hutton says about fairness in his report, it will be used by the government to cut the value of our pension schemes.

These changes are totally unnecessary. Our NHS scheme is cash rich and pays £2bn into the Treasury each year. There are no problems with the local government scheme that would justify this change.

We have already negotiated with the previous government new schemes that reflect people living longer and have made sure they are affordable and sustainable. Talks with the coalition government to protect and defend our members' pensions will be tough. And we need your support.

I will be sending this message to all our members for whom we have an email address. But I felt it only right that you, the activists who are the backbone of this union, got it first.

And remember: we don't have email addresses for everyone: if you do one thing, please make sure all your members are aware of this message and the threat to their pensions.

And use it to recruit new members: tell them what we're doing to protect pensions and ask them to join, so we have a stronger voice.

And get involved in activity within the branch or become a pension champion or write to your local MP to protest.

If we cannot make any progress in our talks with the government to get it to see sense, we will have to take very hard decisions on moving to an industrial action ballot.

You can keep informed of developments by looking at our webpage at unison.org.uk/protectourpensions, which also contains briefings on the threat to our pensions and other resources which you will find useful as an activist.

But I believe that this issue is so important that I will personally let you and our members know the outcome of the talks.

Dave Prentis
UNISON general secretary

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Corperate Governance

Invitation to all Corporate Governance Members.

The Branch has arranged a meeting for all interested members within Corporate Governance on Thursday 10th March at 5pm in Committee Room 5, Peter Hunter UNISON Regional officer based in Edinburgh will be sharing his experience on the proposals to outsource services within Edinburgh and the lessons that can be learned.

So come and join us on Thursday 5pm Committee Room 5.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Here is a brief report on the Branch AGM.

This week the AGM of the Branch was held at the Lemon Tree and a good turn out of members and activists heard reports on the last year, Karen Davidson Branch Secretary was pleased to note that as a branch we have had some significant victories thanks to the support of our members and the general public.

From increments to the fight over compulsory redundancies and our campaign on PSA's we have been active taking the message into meetings in the workplace and with senior members of management and the administration.

Branch officers and stewards for the year ahead were elected, we welcomed some new faces and it was noted that Gerry McCabe who has served as a Steward for 25 years had decided to step down, Gerry was thanked for his time as a steward and wished well for the future.

A call was also made for anyone who may wish to get involved as a steward or officer of the Branch to contact us, for more information then please contact the Branch Office at St Nicholas House.

The AGM also discussed the councils recent decision to implement 3 new policies on Maximising Attendance, Redeployment and Local Salary Progression and an Emergency motion was debated and agreed following a full debate.

The motion calls for the branch to resist attacks on our pay and conditions by all necessary means and for the branch officers to work with our colleagues in other trade unions to fight to ensure that changes are made.

A full copy of motion will be on the Branch Website soon.

Peter Smyth
Communications Officer

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Letter to Councillors

Dear Councillor

As a parent in Aberdeen I am opposed to the budget proposals to drastically cut the number of Pupil Support Assistants in all city secondary and primary schools at the Council meeting on 10th February 2011.

I have not been consulted about the effect this proposal will have on my child's education. Pupil Support Assistants provide a vital service which must be sustained to ensure that all children in Aberdeen are supported and encouraged to fulfil their potential. Cutting the numbers of Pupil support Assistants will ultimately exlude some children from education, which is their right. it will also affect the quality of education that all children receive.

I would be obliged if you could send me the Equality Impact Assessment paperwork that must have been prepared prior to the decision to propose any cuts in Pupil Support Assistant numbers.

I am urging you as my councillor to vote against this particular budget cut at Full Council on Thursday 10th February.

I would also be grateful if you could confirm you have received this letter and let me know how you intend to vote.

Yours sincerely

Your Child's Education is at Risk

Councillors are proposing to slash the number of Pupil Support Assistants in our schools at a budget meeting to be hled on Thursday 10th February. This will have a devastating effect on children's education in Aberdeen. They have not consulted with parents on the effect this will have on your child's education, you need to ask them why?
We must show Councillors that the people of Aberdeen will not accept the destruction of our Education Service.
Please show how much you value you Pupil Support Assistant and the essential work that they do to support your children - send the attached letter to your Councillors.

Tell your friends and family too, once the service is gone it will be too late. Each ward has 3 0r 4 Councillors find out who yours are here http://tinyurl.com/6xeb72o and send the letter to each one.
See http://aberdeenunison.co.uk for more information. Contact us if you have any questions and send us your stories on how this proposal will affect your family.
Help save Education Services in Aberdeen before it's too late.
Join us at the Town House between 12 noon and 2.00pm on 10th February 2011 and stand up for your services.
To Join Up or Join In contact 01224 620624