Aberdeenshire UNISON

"No school cleaner gambled billions on the stock exchange - No home carer, no social worker, no librarian. None of them created this recession. Why should they be expected to pay for it?expected to pay for it?" Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary

UNISON's 'Public Works' campaign - we all need to do our bit to defend public service jobs and services

Click here to tell us why public services are important to you.

October 2010
Branch joins 20,000 marchers to tell the Government "There is a better way"

Aberdeenshire branch members joined over 20,000 people at the STUC march and rally in Edinburgh on Saturday 23rd October, with one clear message. There is a better way.

STUC marchThe turnout exceeded expectations, such is the widespread anger against the unfairness and savagery of the cuts. The anger at a government that "blames the excesses of the privileged on the poor".

Our members joined activists from other local branches early in the morning to travel to Edinburgh by coach, one of more than 100 buses from across Scotland which delivered marchers to the capital.

Our bus got stuck under a low bridge en route. Luckily no-one was seriously injured. "Like every big celebration, we're going home on an open-topped bus", quipped Area Organiser, Lynne Duncan.

Winding its way from Waverley Station, down the Mound and along Princes Street, the first marchers were cramming into the Princes Street Gardens open air theatre while the last had yet to set off.

The riot of colour from almost every union, from students, from the public, from churches and from community groups brought the city alive under an autumn sun.

STUC President Joy Dunn, the ICTU's Jack O'Connor (a swap for Scotland's Mike Kirby who was speaking in Ireland), Pensioners leader Eleanor McKenzie and the Rev Ian Galloway from the Church of Scotland addressed the rally along with STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith.

To see the photos from the march and rally click here

For more on the march and rally click here.

September 2010

As the reality of the ConDem government's strategy begins to hit home and the scale of the challenges become clear, your Branch Committee, made up of branch officers and stewards, has begun to look at how we get across the message that there is no need for public service cuts.

The message that the cuts are driven by the ConDem government's ideological opposition to public services and not by economic necessity. The message that the cuts will, in fact be bad for the economy and that if we allow the cuts in services to take place they will be irreversible. The message that cuts in public services will hit the private sector just as hard. The message that these cuts will hit working people and the poorest in our society far more than the rich. And the message that there are alternatives - there is a better way!

These are serious times and we need a clear strategy as a union and a branch to challenge the messages being put out by the government and the media whenever and wherever we can.


What can the Branch do?

Promote the key messages

  • Cuts are driven by ideology not economics
  • There is nothing inevitable about cuts - they do not make economic sense
  • For every £1 earned by public service worker 70p goes back into local economy
  • The economy depends on healthy public sector - cuts risk a double dip recession
  • There is no private/public divide. Private sector depends on public sector contracts. For every 1 public sector job lost, at least 1 lost in private sector.
  • These measures hit the poorest far more than the rich - we are not 'all in this together'
  • After war deficit at least three times (at peak 5 times) higher yet we built the NHS and the Welfare State

Promote the alternatives

  • Robin Hood Tax on the banks: a 0.05% transaction tax on financial transactions NOT involving members of the public would raise £30bn
  • Airline Duty = £3bn
  • Tax Treatment of Pension contributions for the wealthy = £5bn
  • Deal with tax avoidance = £33bn
  • 25% of top companies pay no Corporation Tax at all but should be paying around £285m (Google £1.6bn = 0 - Arcadia Phillip Green £1.2bn = 0)
  • A one off 20% tax on the richest 10% would give £800bn! (Greg Philo guardian.co.uk, Sunday 15 August 2010)
  • And finally, when the economy picks up tax receipts will increase by well over £60bn
  • The money is there - it's just in the wrong hands!

Yes we can save millions if we deal with benefit fraud but if we deal with tax avoidance we can save billions. So why does the government not concentrate on that?


What the experts say

  • ALL of the G20 countries are dealing with the recession through investment - except Britain and Argentina
  • Most mainstream economists argue for postponing cuts to deficit until a robust recovery begins o Plan to return to surplus by 2015 is 'pointless' especially when it could cost a million jobs

Economists who previously predicted the crash are saying the cuts will damage the economy……..

  • In 2008 Prof David Blanchflower said "something horrible" was going to happen with the economy. Of the Budget he says: "this unnecessary and dangerous budget will push the economy back into recession."
  • In October 2006 Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz said there would be a crash " within 24 months." Now he says : "we're now looking at a long, hard, slow recovery…. if everybody cuts back at the same time."
  • Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman (who also predicted the crash) recently said: "Spend now, while the economy remains depressed; save later, once it has recovered. How hard is that to understand?"


So what can we do as a branch?

We need to have an eye to recruitment in everything that we do. It is absolutely key that we increase our membership for the challenges ahead. That makes us stronger and gives us more influence.

If every steward and contact recruited 2 member a month, that would be more than 600 new members over a year.

Click here if you are reading this and want to join UNISON

Organise and educate
We need to have an organising focus to get the key messages out to members and to the general public. Even when we are supporting members we need to give the messages about our collective responsibility to defend the public services that we all rely on.

Everything we do now should focus on communicating the key messages to our members and challenging the myth that cuts are inevitable.

We need to put the key messages out in our newsletter and on the website and we need to challenge the prevailing myths at every opportunity.

We need to respond to articles which perpetuate the prevailing myths in the local press and media using our key messages and we need to use the media and local politicians to get these messages across. Letters/ press releases etc.

We need to lobby local MPs to put our viewpoint across and use this as an opportunity to publicise our key messages.

We need to link with other local branches to campaign on the key messages and to challenge the myths.

We should watch out for opportunities to join forces with community groups defending public services and with the other trade unions.

We need to discuss how best to involve all of you in this campaign and how to get out and involve the wider membership.

There is a March and Rally planned for 23rd October in Edinburgh, co-ordinated by the STUC. As a branch along with our colleagues in other branches we need to think about how best to promote the widest possible involvement.

For more information look at the mythbusting section of the UNISONActive blog on http://unisonactive.blogspot.com and the STUC website




Public Works

Stop the CutsBranch campaign against budget cuts

People first logoOctober 1st - People First Marches and Rallies in Aberdeen and Glasgow
Spread the wordResources and information
Susan Kennedy See Branch Steward and Equalities Officer, Susan Kennedy on the "UNISON's better way" video on the blog

STUC March

UNISON Scotland "There is a better way" pages

Better way logo Read more about the STUC March and Rally against the Cuts 23rd October 2010

UNISON's campaign for Public Services, jobs, fair taxation and a Living Wage
Challenging the Cuts ConsensusChallenging the Cuts Consensus - Essential Reading
STUC - There is a better way
False economyFalse Economy - Cuts are wrong Highly recommended
"A day in the life"
stop the kutsStop the Cuts March and Rally in Glasgow 10 April
Click here to tell us why public services are important to you
"I've added mine" Photo Gallery
Roadshow poster
stop the kutsUNISON Scotland "Stop the Kuts" page

Million voices for changeMillion Voices for Change - Add Yours!

  'Public Works' launch press release