Wednesday, 25 March 2020

FAIR WORK DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS JOINT STATEMENT BY THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT AND SCOTTISH TRADES UNION CONGRESS

Coronavirus is affecting all our daily lives including our workplaces. We recognise the very challenging position that many employers and workers are now facing. We need a partnership, working in the national interest, to get through the next few months - a partnership that involves the public sector, unions, businesses, 3rd sector organisations, and all workers and managers. We are hugely appreciative of the many cases where this is already in place.

Applying Fair Work Principles through the crisis

Scotland is rightly proud of its reputation as a leader on Fair Work and remains committed to becoming a Fair Work nation.  The health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and the economy is our priority and in these exceptional times, adopting a Fair Work approach is more important than ever.

Scotland’s success as an economy is built on a shared endeavour between workers, unions and employers and this approach will help us get through the current health and economic crisis. Government, unions and business organisations must work together to reach, collectively, the right decisions for protecting workers and public safety, and to help businesses to stay open, where permitted under latest guidance, and keep people in employment.

There has been an unprecedented package of support announced from both the Scottish and UK Governments to support businesses. This support should help many employers preserve their business, maintain jobs and pay their workers throughout this crisis. Information on this support is available through findbusinesssupport.gov.scot.  We urge all businesses to make use of this. 

Employers should consult the latest guidance on the operation of public services and non-essential businesses.  With the closure of schools and other childcare centres now in place to help delay the spread of the virus we need to make sure that key workers performing essential tasks (and for whom no other safe and viable childcare including home working is available) have childcare support to enable them to carry on working.    


We have high expectations of how fair work principles should be applied during the current crisis. This means an approach where workers, trade unions and employers work together constructively to reach the right decisions on all workplace issues that arise throughout this crisis. The dimensions of fair work as defined by the Fair Work Convention: effective voice; security; respect; opportunity and fulfilment, applied to the current context, offer a framework for taking these decisions.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Aberdeen Trades Union Council Executive Committee Statement on Covid-19

ATUC echoes the statement from the Scottish Trade Union Congress calling on the UK government to:
  • Allow access to sick pay from day one and remove the qualifying wage of £114 per week to be able to claim sick pay
  • Significantly increase sick pay from its current level of £94.25 per week
  • Bring in immediate safeguards for workers such as those in the gig economy who are deemed as self-employed or are on zero or short hours contracts
ATUC calls on Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire local authorities to:
·       Freeze rent for small businesses occupying council-owned properties
·       Freeze council tax payments to ease the burden for those unable to work

ATUC wishes affiliates, delegates and their families good health. As well as full support and solidarity to public and private sector workers including healthcare professionals keeping Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire running. ATUC wishes to lend support and solidarity to Covid-19 support groups in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

The Executive urges all delegates who are able, and taking account of the new guidance on self-isolating, to support local foodbanks including Community Food Initiatives North East (CFINE) and to support to the best of their ability the Covid-19 support groups.

Full Council meetings of ATUC will be suspended, with our International Workers' Memorial Day event and International Workers' Day parade and rally cancelled. The Executive Committee will be meeting every two weeks, more frequently on an as-needed basis, via video conference to deal with urgent business where necessary and to monitor the situation.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Standing together for women's equality on International Women's Day

Aberdeen Trades Union Council hosted an excellent International Women’s Day event on Saturday 7th March.

Organised by Fiona Napier, Laura McDonald and Morag Lawrence, ATUC Exec members, the event began with a stall in St Nicholas Square. This attracted loads of interest from passers-by many of whom had their photos taken with placards committing to women's equality.

Dressed as suffragettes, the three organisers really looked the part. WASPI women also came along as they continued their campaign for transitional measures to protect women whose state pension age was moved from 60 to anything between 63 and 66.

Four women speakers then spoke about women’s achievements, the challenges ahead and how, standing side by side with each other, we can tackle these for the generations to come.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

ATUC calls on local politicians to act over Turkey's "Marry your rapist" law

In response to the horrific law passed recently in Turkey allowing men to escape criminal charges if they marry the woman or child they had raped, ATUC have sent all north east MP's, MSP's and councillors the following letter. 

As we approach International Women's Day, we hope that all our elected representatives will join ATUC in condemning this sickening law.


"For the attention of all local-based elected Politicians: Turkish Government’s new law which allows men to marry the woman or child who they raped


The Aberdeen TUC at its recent monthly meeting agreed unanimously to condemn the Turkish Government’s decision to introduce a new law which allows men to escape criminal justice by marrying the woman or child they had raped.


We urge you to read the Independent and Morning Star newspaper articles below which reflect the serious concerns of many people and progressive organisations that are being raised about this horrendous decision taken by the Turkish Government.


We ask that you write to the Turkish Ambassador based in the UK and support the progressive and humane demand that this outrageous law be rescinded.


We look forward to hearing from you in due course as to what your views are on the Turkish Government’s decision to introduce this outrageous legislation and what action you are taking to support the demand that the law be revoked."


Saturday, 29 February 2020

Come along and celebrate international women's day with us

Aberdeen Trades Union Council is adding to the many fabulous International Women's Day activities happening in Aberdeen and the North East with a few of our own!

Join us on Saturday 7th March for an afternoon of activities;
  • 13:00-14:00 Stall in St Nicholas Square with info, music, goodies, and selfie-cards pledges
  • 14:00-15:00 Speakers in St Nicholas Square - speakers on a range of topics
  • 15:00-17:00 Back to ATUC premises for food, chat, additional speakers,  
  • and….if any of you have already seen the amazing 'Sewing Resistance' Chilean craftivism exhibition currently on at University of Aberdeen, we are delighted to say that the university is generously loaning us some arpilleras which we will have on display at ATUC on the day! (many thanks to Patience Schell, Chair of Hispanic Studies and her students!) More info here...https://www.abdn.ac.uk/events/15095/
Fiona Napier, ATUC Secretary said, "In the 50th anniversary year of the Equal Pay Act it has never been more important to celebrate women's achievements and to keep up the pressure for equality. Women's pay still lags 12% behind men's pay and we are still under-represented in politics and management.

"Yet throughout the years women have been responsible for many key initiatives and have been to the fore in many successful campaigns. Yet many challenges still face us in  becoming truly equal.

"Whatever your gender please join us to celebrate women's achievements and to support the campaign for real and lasting gender equality."

Click here for more information.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Free showing of the film WitchHunt and panel discussion

Please come along to a showing of the film, WitchHunt and a panel discussion on Tuesday 25th February 7-9pm at the Belmont Filmhouse, 49 Belmont Street, AB10 1JS Aberdeen.

The controversial IHRA working definition of antisemitism with its examples is increasingly being misused to silence and/or criminalise critics of Israeli government policies that clearly violate Palestinian human rights.

To raise awareness and encourage debate on the subject, ATUC is hosting a screening of the 2019 documentary film and a panel discussion featuring John Pullman (Director), Sarah Glynn (Scottish Jews Against Zionism), and Barney Crockett (Aberdeen Lord Provost (invited)).

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Rededication of plaque to brave Aberdeen International Brigaders

Dozens of people gathered in Aberdeen for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the north-east men who fought fascism in the Spanish civil war.

A total of 19 men from the area volunteered with the International Brigades during the conflict in the 1930s.

The plaque was previously on display in the Aberdeen Music Hall, but was removed during the recent £9million renovation work.

But now, thanks to lobbying by, amongst others, Tommy Campbell of the ATUC and the International Brigade Memorial Trust, it has gained pride of place again in front of a crowd including representatives of the International Bridge Memorial Trust and the families of those who went to fight.

The north-east men were among 2,500 volunteers from the British Isles who joined the voluntary effort to contest fascist General Franco.