Aberdeenshire UNISON

Aberdeen Trades Union Council

St Andrews Day Anti-racism March and Rally
Sat 26th November 2011

"Standing together for a caring and compassionate society"

Branch members took part in the St Andrew's Day March and Rally against racism and fascism in Aberdeen on Sat 26th November.

St Andrews Day March
The Trade Council Banner leads the marchers along Union Street

Marching with the Branch banner, they joined MPs, MSPs and members of other trade unions and community groups to make it clear that racism and fascism are not welcome here in the North East and to celebrate multi-culturalism.

St Andrews March
Marching along Union St against racism and fascism

A rally in the Castlegate heard from Anne Begg, MP, Frank Doran, MP, and Lewis MacDonald, MSP, as well as from speakers from trade unions.

Anne Begg spoke about the forthcoming Day of Action on Pensions. She congratulated the trade unions on taking strike action in defence of public sector pensions and wished members well for their Rally on Wed 30th Nov.

"We are all the bairns o' Adam"
Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden was UNISON's speaker. She told the Rally that UNISON, like the other trade unions, has a proud record in combating the far right; promoting the rights of asylum seekers, fighting for humane immigration rules, and tackling racism wherever it raises its ugly head.

St Andrews Day March
Young and old come together for equality and democracy

She warned that it is particularly in these challenging economic times that we have to guard against prejudice and marginalisation, and any suggestion that we can ignore equality issues.

"We need to guard against the demonisation of people because of their race, religion or culture, or because they are disabled, or on benefits, or elderly or young," she said.

UNISON members march for fairness and justice

She told the Rally that this is especially important just now, when we have a UK government that presides over a country where ordinary people are being hit with wage freezes, job losses, cuts to services and attacks on pensions whilst their chums, the rich businessmen and bankers enjoy salary hikes of almost 50%.

A country where the numbers of children growing up in severe poverty is on the rise whilst it is business as usual for the banks. Where rich bankers get bonuses worth millions of pounds while the UK government has happily cancelled the banker's bonus tax which could have raised 3 billion pounds.

A country where benefits to our most vulnerable citizens, including those with disabilities and chronic health problems are being slashed while the richest 1% just keep getting richer.

A country where unemployment is rising with our young people hit hardest, with no sign that this government's austerity measures are working - something that the trade unions have been warning about since the beginning.

A country where more and more people are dependent on food hand-outs while others get more in one day than most of us can dream of.

Kate said, "These are the kinds of situations which can divide us - which can set us against each other - fighting for ever limited resources.

"Which can perpetrate myths that it is the fault of those who look different, or who worship differently, or who speak a different language.

Rally in the Castlegate, Aberdeen

"Which can be used to hide the real villains of the piece - those who are benefitting from the current economic situation while the rest of us struggle with less and less. The millionaires (including those in the Cabinet) and the bankers and the CEOs of FTSE 100 companies."

She warned that we must not give in to the divide and rule tactics; that regardless of our race, colour, religion, age, income, abilities or disabilities, there is more that binds us than divides us.

"And that is a compassion for each other, a commitment to support each other, a passion to fight for the kind of society we want for ourselves and our children, a recognition that, in the words of the great poet and songwriter, Hamish Henderson, we are all "the bairns o' Adam.

"That is why we must keep fighting against racism, fascism and inequality in all its forms and stand together for the caring and compassionate society that we all want to see, where everyone is accorded dignity and respect, where everyone has enough to eat, where everyone has a decent home and a decent income whether in or out of work and in retirement, and where our children can feel valued so that they will always value others."


Attend the St Andrews Day Anti-racism March and Rally
Sat 26th November 2011

We are encouraging all our members to join us in giving a clear message that racism and fascism are not welcome here in Aberdeenshire.

Click here for a poster

11am Meet in the St Nicholas Churchyard. Look out for the branch banner and join us to match behind it.

11.30am March down Union Street

12 noon Rally in the Castlegate

There will be speakers from Trade Unions, Community Organisations and Political Parties at the rally, including Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair.

1pm Social Gathering at the TUC Social Club, Adelphi