There was a fair bit of debate at this year’s aggregate AGM as members voted on motions on a Scottish Human Rights Act; an emergency Climate Change Act, and on condemning the detention and torture of Palestinian students.
Although there was not unanimous agreement on these topics, the motions were all approved and will now be taken to the Scottish Council of branches and the Palestine motion will go to our national conference.
Motions on campaigning for an improved Attendance Management procedure and allowing the branch to use new technology for branch meetings were less controversial. And there was overwhelming support for an honoraria for our Branch Treasurer for all her work to keep the branch finances in line.
The meeting also heard from Inez Kirk, branch secretary on the work being done by the unions and councils in consolidating the Scottish Living Wage into pay and grading structures. Inez warned that it must be done in a way that is equal pay proof but added that if done properly, workers throughout the pay scale stand to gain.
Pensions Champion Morag Lawrence spoke of her role representing members on the North East of Scotland Pension Board, and her efforts to ensure ethical investment. She also highlighted current discussions about merging the Scottish Pensions Funds to save money which can be invested back in councils, and on the impact of the FBU pensions ruling.
Equalities Officer Kathleen Kennedy spoke of her secondment and her role to ensure that equalities is at the core of everything we do as a branch and the council and CVS organisations do as employers. She highlighted the disadvantages faced by women members, Black members, LGBT+ members and disabled members in the workplace including the 12% gender pay gap 50 years on from the Equal Pay Act. She called for members who self identify in any of these groups to get in touch of they are interested in setting up local self organised groups. (SOGs)
Inez gave an update on Cornerstone UNISON’s long fight for recognition by the organisation, advising that talks are taking place and we await an outcome. There has been a spike in recruitment to the union amongst Cornerstone staff.
Ann Gray spoke of the work of the North East Care project which has successfully recruited members from voluntary and private sector employers, and has also recruited many new stewards. “We are now looking at how best to integrate these within the branch,” said Ann.
The annual report highlighted the branch work over the year and the challenges ahead. Branch accounts were approved with a vote of thanks to the treasurer, Ann Gray. All Branch Officers and stewards nominated were approved by the AGM.
Thanks were given to branch officers and stewards and to full time organising and admin staff for their support over the year.