AGM News

AGM vows to fight for public services, for public service jobs and for the trade unions who protect them

AGM votingA lively aggregate 2016 AGM saw members at two meetings, the first at Woodhill House and the second at the Kintore Arms, Inverurie, throw their weight behind campaigns to champion public services and public service workers and to fight the Tory government’s anti-union bill.

The AGM also backed a local campaign to call for the appropriate provision of healthcare staff to carry out the administration of medications or medical procedures within council and third sector settings; and to put a stop to the voluntary administration of medicines that puts low paid and often untrained staff at risk.

And those members working in professions subject to registration with the Scottish Social Services Council pledged to encourage colleagues to join UNISON for their own protection and to urge members to contact the branch if they are under SSSC investigation.

Our speaker at the aggregate meetings was Carol Ball, joint-Vice Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee alongside our own Inez Teece. Our thanks go to Carol for a very interesting and powerful presentation on council cuts and the Scottish campaign to champion Local Government services and members.

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Branch development officer, Steve Gray, called on all branch members to write to their MPs, MSPs and councillors urging them to oppose the anti-Trade Union bill and to press the Scottish Government to seek a way to stop the bill being enacted in Scotland.

He told members that this bill was the biggest threat ever seen not just to workers’ rights but to human rights.

“It’s not just about the big headline stuff, like strike ballots,” warned Steve, “It’s a direct attack on your right to join a trade union and to be represented individually or in negotiations over pay, working hours, holiday leave, sick leave, pensions and workplace conditions.”

Susan Kennedy
Susan Kennedy, Asst Secretary moves the motion on administration of medic

The AGM also backed a local campaign to call for the appropriate provision of healthcare staff to carry out the administration of medications or medical procedures within council and third sector settings; and to put a stop to the voluntary administration of medicines that puts low paid and often untrained staff at risk.

Susan Kennedy, proposing the motion said, “For too long our members who are amongst the lowest paid are being asked to undertake medical procedures which would normally be carried out by trained health professionals. It puts them at risk and their service users at risk and it has to stop.”

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair moving the motion on SSSC

And those members working in professions subject to registration with the Scottish Social Services Council pledged to encourage colleagues to join UNISON for their own protection and to urge members to contact the branch if they are under SSSC investigation.

There was good discussion at both meetings on all the motions, which were passed unanimously across both meetings. Three will now be submitted to our national conferences.

Champion council services
Our speaker at the aggregate meetings was Carol Ball, Joint-Vice Chair of the Scottish Local Government Committee alongside our own Inez Teece. Our thanks go to Carol for a very interesting and powerful presentation on council cuts and the Scottish campaign to champion Local Government services and members.

Carol Ball
Carol Ball, Vice Chair Scottish Local Government Committee and AGM speaker

Carol spoke of the huge cuts facing councils around the country and detailed the campaign by UNISON Scotland’s Local Government Conference to oppose the cuts.

“You can’t underestimate the scale of the cuts we face,” Carol told the meetings.

“There has already been £500 million cut from council budgets and 40,000 jobs have already gone. Now we face even more cuts with Glasgow set to lose 3,000 jobs over the next two years and Edinburgh and South Lanarkshire 2,000.”

In Aberdeenshire councillors have pledged to avoid compulsory redundancies but jobs lost through vacancy freezes and an end to temporary contracts are still jobs and services lost and puts pressure on those left behind to do more with less.

Health services have been protected by this Scottish Government. But, said Carol, councils also provide for our nation’s health. “We care, nurture and support our elderly and vunerable adults through home care and other services; we protect and support our most vulnerable children through classroom support at school, free school meals, through social work services to vulnerable familes; we protect the environment through waste management, and other green initiatives.

“As a union we need to all champion council services so people value them in the same way they rightly value the NHS.

“When will we say enough is enough?” she asked. “When council services are all gone? Then it will be too late.”

The AGM approved the nominations for the branch officer and steward posts and the branch made its annual plea for more stewards to come forward.

Ann Gray
Ann Gray, Treasurer

Vote of thanks and honoraria for treasurer for excellent work
The accounts were adopted and approved and a vote of thanks and the annual honoraria was approved for our hard-working treasurer, Ann Gray who keeps our finances healthy and transparent.

The annual report set out a challenging year past and further challenges to come and Branch Secretary Inez Teece called on all members to play their part in fighting cuts and in opposing the anti-union bill.

Inez Teece
Inez Teece, Branch secretary

She told the AGM that the branch and UNISON Scotland has invested in staff to support our members in the voluntary sector and amongst third sector employers.

“We know that the third sector also has many challenges and when councils are facing cuts these are often passed on to that sector, even though they provide vital services for our most vulnerable.”

These new staff will improve the services to third sector members and will support them to campaign and organise to protect jobs, terms and conditions and services.

James Mulholland
James Mulholland, Pensions Champion

State pension – paying more for less
James Mulholland, our branch Pensions Champion spoke at both meetings to detail the changes to the state pension – changes that will see those of us in the Local Government Pension Scheme pay 1.4% more per year on National Insurance for little if any gain in our state pension.

The meetings closed with thanks to the key Branch Officers and the Branch Committee for their work over the year and to the staff in the UNISON resource centre who support all the work of the branch.

 

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