Aberdeenshire UNISON’s AGMs on 12th and 13th Feb, pledged support for our colleagues in Cornerstone as they apply for statutory recognition by the employer.
Inez Kirk, Branch Secretary told the AGM that UNISON membership has grown rapidly in Cornerstone UNISON as a result of the way the union and staff have been treated by management. Cornerstone members have also had the support of UNISON Scotland and UK UNISON with NEC members and the President, Gordon McKay, also pledging solidarity.
Members who attended the three AGMs, held over two days and three venues, and chaired by Steve Gray, also backed action to tackle the growing risk to staff of violence at work. Many of those attending had themselves experienced violence and the branch will campaign to ensure that policies are in place and used effectively to minimise violence and support staff.
The branch will also demand Aberdeenshire Council publish statistics on staff with disabilities to hold the council accountable for supporting our disabled members, as members agreed a motion moved by branch steward Kathleen Kennedy.
“We should also all take responsibility for ensuring the well-being of our colleagues with a visible disability and ask questions if we don’t see them in the workplace for a period of time,” urged Kathleen.
On the wider citizenship issues, the branch will also take action on child poverty and climate change resilience. Both these issues also affect our members, with many low paid members and their families facing food and fuel poverty through low pay and problems with the roll out of Universal Credit.
Moving the motion, Kate Ramsden called for members to get involved in lobbying our local Tory MPs to address this disgrace in the world’s 5th riches economy.
“We must name and shame local politicians who vote for policies that benefit the rich at the expense of the poor,” she said.
Steve Gray emphasised the critical importance of climate change resilient public services, pointing to the catastrophes we have had to deal with locally through weather events including flooding in Inverurie, Stonehaven and Deeside.
“This is not just terrible for those affected but also costly for the council as cash strapped councils struggle to afford repairs to infrastructure damage,” warned Steve, calling for a co-ordinated Climate Change Resilience Strategy and a properly funded infrastructure programme.
Most of the motions approved will now be submitted to Scottish Council and our National Delegate Conference.
Inez also gave an update on pay and thanked members for voting in the consultative ballot. A whopping 91% voted to accept the offer and we now await an outcome from our colleague unions. A further meeting will take place on 1st March. You can read the latest on pay here
Ann Gray, Treasurer presented the accounts and these were endorsed by the AGMs. The branch finances are healthy. Ann was given a vote of thanks for her work over the year and an Honoraria of £1362.04 was agreed.
The list of Branch Officer and Stewards nominations was approved. There were no contested posts. Some are vacant and members are urged to consider standing as a steward or Branch Officer in the vacant posts.