Aberdeenshire UNISON

UNITE District Office, 44 King Street, Aberdeen AB24 5TJ
1pm until 3pm

Women become more active as they bear the brunt of austerity

UNISON member and Joint Secretary (Job Share) for Aberdeen Trades Union Council, Scott Sutherland attended the ATUC event to celebrate International Women's Day and reports on an excellent event.

Scott said, "First of all, thank you to Tommy Campbell, UNITE, for arranging the event attended by around 40 trade union activists.

"The speaker was Liz Elkind, former President of the STUC.
Liz stated that this was her first visit to Aberdeen in the last 12 years, the previous time being for the STUC Congress held in the Music Hall in 2001. Liz added that her background was in community education and more recently worked freelance advising voluntary organisations and trade unions.

"Liz presented an excellent and thought provoking speech on the fight against women’s oppression. A recent Guardian article by Seamus Milne was highlighted where it was contended that women were hostile to CONDEM coalition policy and were moving left politically.

However, Liz cautioned that ongoing austerity measures and cuts will have a negative impact on women. Whilst there has indeed been some victories regarding equal pay, the gap will widen as more women lose their jobs due to cuts. Pay freezes and benefit cuts will also have a disproportionate effect on women.
Women are being made to pay for a crisis not of their making.

"Liz further highlighted that the move to the left involved more women in trade union activity and demonstrations. Women now represent over 50% of the overall trade union membership. Liz asserted that this political movement was affecting the way in which women thought politically. More women members are becoming lay officials and full time officers.

"Liz advised of a visit to Cuba in 1993 as part of the Solidarity Work Brigade which involved meeting the Federation of Cuban Women. Cuban women have been highly involved in Cuban society since the revolution. Liz also outlined a trip to South Africa to participate in the role of international women in struggle.

"Liz further outlined four separate trips to Palestine, meeting women from a range of cultures, who opposed sectarian differences and united against oppression. In addition, Liz travelled to Spain and the Basque Country where women highlighted how the autonomous struggle had parallels with the debate on independence for Scotland. Where will the responsibility to women be?"

Following the lead off a lively debate took place regarding women’s oppression and the role of women in society.


Aberdeen Trades Union Council invites you to come and join us in celebrating International Women’s Day.

The event will be held at the UNITE District Office, 44 King Street, Aberdeen AB24 5TJ on Friday 8th March at 1pm until 3pm.  There will be tea/coffee and sandwiches available from 12.30pm.

Click here for more information

We will hear from the guest speaker, Liz Elkind,  about the significance of celebrating International Women's Day and in particular the role of Women in the Trade Unions and also in the wider Peoples' Organisations in their campaigns for Peace and Justice  both here in Scotland and throughout the world.

Liz Elkind, is a long time Trade Union and Trades Council activist.  She has represented Trades Union Councils on the STUC General Council and was President of the STUC Congress held in Aberdeen in 2001.  She chaired the University Lecturers section of EIS and on changing career joined the TGWU, later Unite, serving on her Branch Committee.  She remains a Unite member.  Throughout her Trade Union membership she represented her Union branch as an active member of Edinburgh Trades Union Council

This is an opportunity for all trade unionists, political and community activists to recognise and celebrate the positive role of women in the trade union movement and in the wider community-based campaigns for a better life for everyone, based on equality, peace and justice.

All are welcome !

Please let us know if you are attending by contacting  Jane Gore at UNITE on 01224 645271 or jane.gore@unitetheunion.org so that we have some idea of numbers attending when we order the food for this important event.

For further information contact Tommy Campbell at tommy.campbell@unitetheunion.org or on 01224 645271.

What is International Women's Day?
International Women's Day started in 1911 and is about celebrating the political, social and economic gains of women. Many risk violence and imprisonment fighting for the rights of their fellow workers and justice for all.

In Massachusetts young women mill workers won a dispute for fair pay and dignity at work exactly 100 years ago. In the UK hte Match girls 1888, the Chainmakers in 1910 and the Ford Dagenham workers in 1968 all won disputes for fair and equal pay, the latter now having been immortalised in film recently.

We celebrate International Womens Day 2012 against a background of continuing to fight together against the devastating impact cuts are having on ordinary women, our families, our colleagues and our communities.

We hope that you will take this opportunity to come along and join us at the ATUC Club, 13 Adelphi, Aberdeen on Thursday 8 March 2012 at 11am to celebrate International Women's Day.