Aberdeenshire UNISON

Pensions Rally 30 NovUpdate 30th Nov 2011

Branch joins thousands in Aberdeen to tell Government "Hands off our Pensions"

Click here for all the action on strike day in Scotland as it happened

You were magnificent!

Branch members joined with over two thousand colleagues from other trade unions and community groups to tell this coalition government that we will defend our pensions.

A big thank you to all our members who came out on strike to support the Day of Action for pensions justice, not just for yourselves but for your colleagues in the pensions scheme and for all those who come after.

In a fantastic show of unity, members from all the public sector trade unions gathered in the Castlegate in Aberdeen to hear a range of speakers calling on the Coalition Government to think again on their pensions proposals.

Julie Neale
Julie chained!

And before that branch members had been up from early doors to join picket lines across Aberdeenshire. There were pickets at Seafield House in Banff, where Branch steward Julie Neale chained herself to a pillar in protest at the attacks on our pensions; at Gordon House; Woodhill House, Stonehaven; and at Meldrum and Kemnay Academies.

After being treated to coffee and bacon rolls to warm them up, pickets streamed into the Castlegate to join one of the largest crowds seen there in years. Banners, flags and placards made a colourful show as vuvuzelas and whistles joined the crowd's cheers and applause for the speakers.

Click here for more photos of pickets and rally

Click here for more pics

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald congratulated strikers for taking action to defend their pensions and pledged his support for the action. He condemned George Osborne's "failed policies" on the economy and his plans for further public service cuts in his Autumn statement. With growth at an all time low and increased borrowing it was clear that these policies are not working, Lewis told the crowds, as he called on the government to rethink.

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden
"Enough is enough"

Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden was one of the UNISON speakers. She told the rally that public sector workers do not take strike action lightly and that it is a mark of the real anger they feel that they had turned out in such numbers today.

Kate said, "Let's nail the lies of this ConDem Government. Our pensions are not "gold-plated". An average local government pension is around £4,500 and for women it's under £3,000 Compare that to the average pension of a Director of a FTSE 100 company - £175,000. These are the real gold plated pensions!"

She warned of the government's divide and rule tactics.
"Cutting public sector pensions won't make private sector pensions any better. In fact it will just make it harder to win pensions justice for all. That is why our colleagues in private sector unions are supporting our action today and we thank them for it.

"The real pensions divide is between those at the top of the earnings chain and the rest of us."

"And this is the message we need to get across," she added. "We in the trade unions are on the side of fairness and justice for all. We condemn the growing inequality in this country where the rich are getting richer while the rest of us pay the price. We stand here to tell this government that enough is enough."

Sandra Dee Masson
NEC member
Sandra Dee Masson

NEC member Sandra Dee Masson also addressed the Rally. She slammed the government's attacks on our pensions. "Our members are having to pay more, and work longer for a poorer pension at the end of the day. Once again ordinary people are being made to pay for a crisis they did not create."

Sandra Dee called on the UK government to get back round the table and negotiate properly on our pensions.



Update 12th Nov 2011

Join the Day of Action for pensions justice on 30th November and fight for decent pensions

"Don't push us around on pensions" - All out on 30 November!

Click here for a poster

Day of Action on PensionsUnison members have delivered a majority 'YES' vote for strike action to protect their pensions.

Over 1 million Unison members will join the other 2 million Public Sector union members on November 30th in the biggest strike Britain has ever seen. This action will send a clear message to the government that enough is enough.

The branch is calling on all our members to join with other public service unions, the TUC and the STUC and take action on 30th November to protect our pensions.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "We are calling on our members to take action not just for ourselves, but for our children and our children's children. We expect all our members to take strike action.

"We need to take action today for fairness tomorrow."


The Branch will be taking part in a number of pickets across Aberdeenshire. If you want to join a picket, please contact the Branch Officers and activists below.

Woodhill House and Carlton House, Stonehaven (or if you want to organise a picket) contact Inez Teece on 01224 620624

Gordon House contact Kate Ramsden on 07767 027722

Seafield House, Banff contact Julie Neale by phoning the Resource Centre on 01224 620624

Rolls and coffee will be available at Archibald Simpsons in Aberdeen from 10.30am for members who have been on picket duty so that you can warm up before the Rally.

Come along to the Rally in Aberdeen

Aberdeen Trades Union Council(ATUC) has organised a Rally at 12.30pm in the Castlegate in Aberdeen, with a range of local speakers. Please come along to that and encourage as many of your colleagues to get along too.

Click here for an ATUC poster


Why we need to act now

The UK government has frozen our pay, cut our services and taken our jobs. The price of food and fuel has risen sharply whilst take home pay has plummeted in real terms. Ordinary people are paying the price of bailing out the banks whilst boardroom pay has rocketed by almost 50%.

I'm taking action on 30 NovNow this government is coming after our pensions. It wants us to pay more, work longer and has already made sure we will get less by linking our pensions to the lower Consumer Price Index.

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "Yet again this government is hitting the low paid whilst their friends in big business and the banks get pay rises of 49% and keep their real "gold plated" pensions.

"Cutting public service workers pensions wonít make anyone's pension in the private sector better. In fact it will make it harder for us to win pensions justice for all," warned Kate.

"Workers in public services are modestly paid. Their pay has been frozen while the price of basics is shooting up.

"Now many are being told to accept major changes by a UK government which happily cancelled the bankerís bonus tax which could have raised 3 billion pounds.

"Itís wrong to make workers in public services suffer to pay for bailing out the banks.

"The Tory led Coalition is attacking pensions and the Scottish Government is doing little to stand in its way. We must act now and stand up for pensions justice for all."


Decent pensionThe negotiations
Ian McDonald, Branch Pensions Champion added, "UNISON members have voted overwhelmingly to join the STUC and TUC co-ordinated day of action.

"Pressure from UNISON, including our ballot of more than a million members, has seen the government move significantly from its original proposals.

"But at the moment, all the government has spelled out is outline principles - there are no detailed offers for the different public service pension schemes that members can make a decision on.

"UNISON will continue to negotiate on our members' behalf right up until 30 November and will consult members when any firm offer is received.

"However, until and unless we have a firm offer, we need to keep up the pressure and proceed with our plans for action on 30 November alongside other public sector unions, the STUC and the TUC," he added.

Your pension is under attack - join us in defending it.