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