Aberdeenshire UNISON

AGM 09

AGM calls for pensions protection and proper resources for social work.

Members attending this year's AGM on 18th February heard of another busy year for the branch as members were thanked for their action in support of a decent pay settlement. The meeting pledged to defend public sector pensions and to push for proper resources for social work. It also donated 200 to Medical Aid for Palestine's Gaza Appeal.

Branch acts to protect our pensions from new attacks
The AGM rejected Tory and Lib Dem attacks on public sector pensions and called for a continued campaign to combat adverse and misleading press information. It recognised the real risk to our pensions if a Tory Government gets in at the next election and called for all members to be given information on the position of all the political parties on public sector pensions, to allow them to make an informed choice about who to vote for.

Ian McDonald"Since the onset of the financial crisis it has been open season on our pensions. But let's be clear, an average local government pensioner gets just 74 per week," said Ian McDonald, Branch Treasurer, and mover of the motion. He told the AGM that these are deferred wages which members contribute to over all their working lives.

"Because our pensions prevent many of us from being dependent on state pensions, we actually save tax payers money," he added.

"Nor is this about "special treatment" for public sector workers. Any solution should be about levelling up to ensure that all workers get decent pensions," he added and called on political parties to urge the private sector to face up to their responsibilities by setting up decent pension schemes.

"We must reject accusations that our pensions are unsustainable and unaffordable," said Ian, urging members to think carefully about how they cast their vote at the next elections.

This motion will now be submitted by the branch to Annual Delegate Conference.

Click here to see motion


Call for better resources for social work
The meeting threw its weight behind our social work colleagues as the AGM called for UNISON to campaign for greater investment in front-line services, to make sure that social work and social care staff have the time and the resources to practice safely and effectively to protect children.

Kate RamsdenProposing the motion, Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair, condemned the attacks on social work by politicians and the media, which failed to recognise all the children protected by social workers every day.

"These attacks take attention away from the real issues for social work of chronic underfunding, poor staffing levels; too high caseloads and excessive bureaucracy; a culture of over-regulation and management cultures which fail to support front-line staff and acknowledge their crucial task of working with intense and complex situations," said Kate.

She commended UNISON's support for its social work members and its efforts to highlight the pressures alongside all the good work which is done through the commitment, skills and expertise of social work and social care staff and called on the meeting not only to pass the motion but also to defend social work whenever they hear it criticised.

The branch will now submit this motion to the Annual Delegate Conference and Local Government Conference.

Click here to see motion


Support for pay review
The AGM has directed the branch committee to engage fully with UNISON Scotland's review of the 2008 pay campaign and the preparation of the 2010 pay claim.

Bob Revie"The action we took in August and September last year was successful in getting an improved offer," said Bob Revie, Branch Secretary, moving the pay motion, and paying tribute to the hard work of branch officers, union officials, activists and members. "However, there are always lessons to be learned. We know that whilst a great many of our members took action, others did not and we need to look at how we get more members on board.

"We also need to look at how we worked with the other unions, both our partners in the process, the GMB and Unite, and those we need to support our action like the EIS."

Click here to see motion


Single status, reviews and challenges for the voluntary sector
In his Annual Report, Bob updated members on the progress of Single Status Appeals. These are due to be concluded by 31st March, but Bob told the meeting that this seems unlikely. "The big group appeals still need to be heard," he said, adding that branch officers have been kept very busy supporting members who have appealed.

Bob told the meeting that modernisation reviews have continued to take up time and energy for both activists and members and there have been many criticisms of both the process and the outcomes. "We continue to support members going through this process," Bob said.

Our members in the voluntary sector have continued to face challenges and UNISON has continued to campaign for fair pay and fair funding for the voluntary sector. "We recognise that there have been many problems for the sector, especially in relation to the tendering process which has the effect of driving down standards, pay and conditions," he said.

Pensions blow for relief staff
Susan Hardcastle, a member who is a relief in a social work establishment, raised concerns about the new pension scheme which denies relief staff the opportunity of membership.

Bob confirmed that this is the case but that this did not form part of the negotiations with the trade unions before it was included in the new regulations.

However, a solution may be at hand for those staff who are called "relief" but who, in fact, work regular hours for the council.

UNISON is aware of this situation and has been in discussion with Aberdeenshire Council. The Council has made it clear that they do not want any employee to be disadvantaged by this change in legislation. We understand that the Council is looking to transfer regular workers to either temporary or permanent contracts which will allow them to remain in the Pension Scheme without any loss.


Branch funds are healthy
The meeting approved the branch accounts and gave a vote of thanks to Ian McDonald for his sterling work as treasurer. It unanimously approved a 200 donation to the Gaza Appeal which has the support of UNISON Scotland. Click here for more details

The meeting also gave a vote of thanks to the staff in the Resource Centre who support the work of the branch.

Click here for lists of branch officers

Click here for lists of stewards


Wed 18th February 2009 at 7.15pm at the Kintore Arms, Inverurie

Buffet at 6.30pm


Please come along and support your union!



1. Chairperson's remarks

2. Appointment of Tellers

3. (a) Minute of AGM 2008
(b) Matters arising

4. Annual Report
The Annual Report on the work of the branch will be available at the meeting. Questions and discussion will follow.

5. Treasurer's Report and Presentation of Accounts
(a) The accounts for the year ended 31 December 2008

6. Election of branch officers
Election of branch committee/stewards

7. Motions

(1) Honoraria Payments

(2) UNISON response to the death of 'Baby P'

(3) Defend Public Sector Pensions

(4) Local Government Pay

8. Any other competent business
(This should be advised to chairperson before the start of the meeting)

9. Close of meeting
It is recommended the meeting should conclude no later than 9.15 p.m.


Preliminary notice

The AGM is the branch's supreme policy making forum. It will elect the Branch Officers for 2009, set policy on important issues affecting all members and can amend rules.

The preliminary notice has already been issued to allow members time to consider and submit nominations and motions and to meet deadlines for the agenda which will be sent out no later than Friday 30th Jan 2009.

Branch officer and steward posts

Nominations are invited for stewards and branch officer posts. Any nominations should be on the appropriate forms and should be returned to Bob Revie, Branch Secretary at UNISON Freepost (AB048), 7 Alford Place, Aberdeen AB10 1ZQ no later than Wed 21st Jan 2009.

Click here for steward's nomination forms

Click here for branch officer's nomination forms

Description of branch officer roles

Motions and other business

Any member can submit a motion or let us know of any other business for consideration at the AGM. Motions need to be signed by two members and sent to Bob Revie, Branch Secretary at UNISON Freepost (AB048), 7 Alford Place, Aberdeen AB10 1ZQ no later than Wed 21st Jan 2009.

Click here to see last year's motions.



AGM 09

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Deadlines for AGM 2009

Nominations for branch officer and steward posts, must be submitted on appropriate forms to the branch office by Wed 21st Jan 2009.
Motions for the AGM should be signed by two members and sent to the branch office by Wed 21st Jan 2009.
The AGM Agenda with the nominations, motions and any rule changes received by the closing date will be mailed out from Friday 30th Jan 2009