Aberdeenshire UNISON

October 1st - People first
15,000 of the 'real big society' brave the rain in Glasgow to say 'Put People First'

Click here for the report of the Aberdeen March and Rally

Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden joined 15,000 hardy souls to brave torrential rain to demonstrate in Glasgow on 1 October to demand the Government 'puts people first' through:

  • a redistribution of wealth across Scotland
  • fair taxes and living wage jobs protection for the hardest hit
  • decent services and fair benefits
Kate Ramsden
Kate marches in the rain to "put people first"

Faith, equality, anti-poverty and trade union groups across Scotland came together to campaign for the alternative to cuts and to say 'there is a better way'.

Despite the torrential rain, people from across the age range, from babies in push-chairs and children, from students and young people to grandparents marched from Glasgow Green to Kelvingrove Park to tell the government that we will fight for public services, for equality and social justice and for fair taxes and a living wage for all.

People First March

People young and old came together to demand the government "puts people first"

Despite the rain, the mood was upbeat as the crowd marched behind a pipe band and arrived at Kelvingrove Park to be greeted by ceilidh music and song from a fiddle and guitar duo.

Tony Benn
Tony Benn addresses the Rally

At the Rally, ex government minister and veteran campaigner Tony Benn addressed the rally and slammed the excesses of the bankers while working people were being forced to 'pay the cost'.

Calling for 'dignity' for working people, Tony praised the spirit of the march and rally. With that spirit and with so many young people turning out, Tony told the rally 'We will win!".

Tony Benn was in Glasgow in connection with his key role in the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders 'work in' 40 years ago which was being commemorated through a number of events in Glasgow on 1 October. Referring to those who took part in the dispute as 'heroes', Tony underlined the need for today's campaigns to learn from that struggle.

Mike Kirby
Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary

UNISON Scottish Secretary Mike Kirby, this year's STUC President, praised the trade unions, community groups, faith groups and wider public who had braved the rain to turn out in their thousands. "You are the real big Society", Mike told them.

For more on the March and Rally on the UNISON Scotland website and for more pictures, click here



October 1st - People first
2000 march against the cuts in Aberdeen as the public shows support

Marchers Oct 1st
UNISON members march in Union Street

Branch members joined around 2000 trade unionists, trade council members and community groups who marched along Union Street on Saturday 1st Oct to demonstrate their opposition to cuts in public services.

As the March snaked down the whole of Union Street, with its banners and flags of all different unions and citizens groups making a colourful display, members of the public stopped to watch the march and give support to it.

Marchers in Union Street
Banners and flags make a colourful display

The weather stayed fair in Aberdeen, unlike Glasgow, and those who took part managed to stay dry for the length of the march, before rallying in the Arts Centre.

March against the cuts
The march snakes from one end of Union Street to the other

Susan Quinn, EIS Vice president and Sarah Duncan, UNISON Regional Organiser gave rousing speeches.

Sarah Duncan

Sarah slammed the recent cuts to education in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire and told the rally that it was looking increasingly unlikely that our children will get the education they need and deserve.

However, the rally was about the savage cuts to all public services, "happening because those at the top right now don't believe in public services, they think that they can get away with attacking public sector workers, demonising them and raiding their wages, terms and conditions and pensions to pay off the deficit," warned Sarah, adding that the Con Dem government doesn't want to fund public services, it wants to sell them off to their friends in big business.

"What those at the top have to be made to see is that at the end of the day, attacks on public services are not really attacks on the unions, they are not really attacks on the workers they are attacks on our society.

"It's an attack on the care your elderly relative gets. It's an attack on your child's school. And these attacks have consequences that affect everyone, not just the workers who provide the services.

"Because cutting back cleaners hours in hospitals means dirtier hospitals, Because sacking classroom assistants will hold back kids education. Because cutting back on care hurts the frail and vulnerable."

To great applause Sarah ended by congratulating all the marchers who came along today, "showing that you want to defend our society and the standards of public services in Aberdeen, that you are not prepared to put up the attacks on services any longer, that the cuts have got to stop and that there must be another way."


October 1st - People first
Marches and Rallies against the cuts in Aberdeen and Glasgow

Two complementary events are planned for 1st October 2011 as a massive demonstration against cuts to public services.

The STUC, on behalf of a growing number of faith, equality, anti-poverty and campaign organisations, has organised the People First march and rally in Glasgow on 1st October 2011. >>>more

Aberdeen event

Aberdeen RallyAt the same time, in a parallel event for the North of Scotland, the EIS has organised a march and rally in Aberdeen.

Click here for a poster for the Aberdeen event

The Aberdeen march will assemble at Rubislaw Terrace at 10.30am and will march down Union St from 11am to a Rally at the Arts Centre at 12 noon.

Susan Kennedy, Asst Secretary said, "Whilst the march and rally will oppose all cuts to public services, it will have a particular focus on the impact of cuts in education. UNISON has been campaigning from the start against proposals to slash learning support in schools, with the impact that will have on our most vulnerable children, and its knock on effect for all pupils. We would urge our members to turn out in large numbers for this event and we hope that parents, familes and concerned members of the public will also join us."

The speakers at the Aberdeen event will be EIS National Vice President Susan Quinn and our own Regional Organiser, Sarah Duncan, as well as a parent council speaker.

Glasgow event
The Glasgow march is planned to go from Glasgow Green to Kelvingrove Park where it will assemble to hear speeches and music before attending a range of fringe events held in places of worship, student unions, public buildings and hotels in the vicinity of the park.

The event will also feature a specific initiative to raise funds for the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal created to help those hit by famine in Africa. Sponsoring and supporting organisations for the event will be very diverse, but have in common the aim of working together on a non-partisan basis to:

• challenge poverty levels and campaign for redistribution of wealth across Scotland and the UK;
• campaign to protect those hardest hit by service and benefit cuts; and;
• help to build and reconnect Scotland’s communities.

For more information click here