Friday, 15 June 2018

Aberdeen remembers Grenfell - FBU's Leon Murray - "We will not rest till we have justice."

ATUC held a moving commemoration for Grenfell in Aberdeen on 14th June, remembering the 72 men, women and children killed one year ago this evening in a terrible and preventable fire. 

It began with a statement from the Justice4Grenfell, then around 50 people lit candles and wrote messages of support to survivors, families and friends of those lost.
There were emotional speeches and poems and a clear message that we will not forget and we will fight for justice for those who died and those left behind. We thank all the speakers.

Leon Murray spoke on behalf of Fire Brigades Union. Here is the speech he made.

"I’d like to thank Aberdeen Trades Union Council for organising this event and inviting me to attend and I’d also like to thank you all for coming here to take part in what, I’m sure you will agree, has been a very moving event. It’s right that we remember what happened a year ago in this way.

None of us will ever forget what we saw on our TV screens when we woke up that morning, the shear horror of the event unfolding was impossible to comprehend. As a firefighter it was no easier to believe, no firefighter in the UK had ever dealt with a fire of that magnitude, it was a fire that could not be prepared for, it should not have been able to happen.

Once we all realised that what we witnessed was real then the questions started to be asked, and those questions remain largely unanswered. How could this have happened, how could a relatively modern building in one of the richest areas, of one of the richest cities in the world be involved in a tragedy so horrific that 72 people, 72 innocent men, women and children lost their lives?

Monday, 4 June 2018

Vigil in Aberdeen to remember Grenfell one year on - please join us.

Aberdeen will join the commemorations happening in towns and cities throughout Scotland and the UK to remember Grenfell, one year on. 

A vigil, organised by Aberdeen Trades Union Council, will be held in St Nicholas Square on Thursday 14th June from 6.30-7.30pm. This will be followed by short speeches and contributions.

ATUC Secretary, Fiona Napier said, "As the inquiry begins into Grenfell, and we have heard the moving testimonies from loved ones to all those who perished in the fire, it reminds us that we must never forget what happened here - a completely avoidable tragedy.

"We will be remembering those whose lives were lost and all their friends and relatives who were so deeply affected by the terrible events of a year ago. 

"We will be giving thanks to the emergency services who worked tirelessly, at cost to themselves, to deal with the fire and its aftermath.

"But we will also be pledging to fight to ensure that this terrible tragedy can never happen again."

For details on Facebook click here

Saturday, 26 May 2018

A Fantastic Grampian Pride March and Rally!

Today saw the first Grampian Pride march down Union Street in Aberdeen which had thousands of people proudly raising their rainbow flags and enjoying the sunshine in an inspiring event by the LGBT+ community, joined by their friends and allies from all walks of life.

The parade was led by a Scottish Fire & Rescue Service engine, and had a number of brightly decorated floats, followed by loads of community groups, with drums and music all the way.

Grampian Pride 2018
Aberdeen Trades Union Council was proud to be a supporter of Grampian Pride this year, and it was fantastic to see a great representation by many different trade unions on the march, continuing the long commitment trade unions have had to promoting equality and breaking down boundaries.

A great event - and we look forward to the next one!  Go here for more photos of the event.

Posted by UNISON Aberdeen Universities Branch on Saturday, 26 May 2018

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Statement from Aberdeen Trades Union Council on the massacre of Palestinian protesters in Gaza

Aberdeen Trades Union Council condemns unequivocally the massacre by the State of Israel, of Palestinian citizens exercising their right of peaceful protest.

We are outraged at the shootings and killings by the Israeli Defence Force of unarmed protesters, including many children, one as young as 8 months. There can be no justification for killing unarmed civilians and children. It is a breach of international law which shames us all and we call on the international community to hold Israel to account.

We are appalled that the US has blocked a UN call for an independent inquiry. This is another stain on the United States and the position they have taken on Palestine since Donald Trump became president.

ATUC has already condemned Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. The jubilation of those at the opening ceremony stands in shocking contrast to the scenes on the Gazan border where Israeli Defence Force snipers continued their assaults on Palestinians, murdering and injuring protesters with weapons some of which were no doubt purchased from the UK.

We note the UK Government’s condemnation of Israel’s actions but words are not enough. We demand that the UK Government immediately ceases its arms trade with Israel.

We also call on all political parties, trade unions and individuals to embrace the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, to put pressure on the Israeli government to end the oppression of Palestinians, the occupation of their lands and to give Palestinian refugees the right of return.

The great Nelson Mandela said, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” ATUC will continue to campaign for that freedom, for justice and for peace for the Palestinian people.

Please come along to the protest against the killings and maiming and to call for an end to Israeli war crimes. This will be held on Sunday 20th May 1-2.30pm outside Ross Thompson MP's office, 192 Holburn Street, Aberdeen. Click here for details

Please also sign this Avaaz petition Palestinian Lives Matter

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

ATUC Annual Report 2017

ATUC Annual Report 2017
Aberdeen Trades Union Council is pleased to announce the publication of our Annual Report for 2017, which is now available for download from this website.

If you would like hard copies of this report to distribute within your organisations, please contact us on our Facebook page and we can arrange to get copies to you.

The year 2018 is also our 150th Anniversary year, and we'd like to give our special thanks to everyone who provides articles for the report, for our dedicated team of people who work on putting the report together, and also all the trade unions and other organisations who help to support the work of the ATUC throughout the year, and who support the production of the annual report by providing articles and adverts.

Monday, 7 May 2018

May Day March and Rally - standing up for workers rights and equality in our 150th anniversary year

Hundreds turned out for the ATUC organised May Day March and Rally to celebrate International Workers Day - a true celebration of workers’ rights on the 150th anniversary of the ATUC

The sun shone and the marchers made a colourful and noisy spectacle as they paraded down Union Street to the upbeat rhythms of the wonderful Guarana Drummers.

The crowds on Union Street stopped to watch and wave as the march passed by and marchers gave out leaflets bringing greetings from the ATUC in our 150th birthday year.

At the rally, compered by ATUC President, Kathleen Kennedy, a range of speakers highlighted the importance of workers' and human rights here and around the world and called for greater equality and justice for all.

A photo at the end will send greetings from the march to our colleagues in Gaza, suffering under Israeli occupation and oppression.

You can enjoy the videos of the march and the rally below.

Posted by Aberdeen Trades Union Council on Saturday, 5 May 2018

Posted by Aberdeen Trades Union Council on Saturday, 5 May 2018

Friday, 4 May 2018

Moving Workers' Memorial Day Service pledges to remember the dead, fight for the living.

A moving International Workers’ Memorial Day Service was held on Saturday 28th April  in the beautiful Persley Memorial Garden, Aberdeen.

Organised by ATUC and chaired by Donna Clark, Vice-President, the service was addressed by politicians, activists and trade union speakers in this the 30th anniversary year of the Piper Alpha disaster and ofcourse our own 150th anniversary year.

Wreaths were laind by Aberdeen City Council and by the ATUC. Welcoming those attending Donna said that no one should leave for their work never to return, but it happens all too often. The theme of this years  remembrance events is that unionised workplaces are safer workplaces.

Participants observed a two minute silence to remember all those who had died, been made ill or injured at their work.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Please come along to the next ATUC Delegates meeting on Wednesday 2 May 2018 at 7.30pm

The next ATUC Delegates meeting will be held on Wednesday 1st May 2018 at 7.30pm within the ATUC premises at 22A Adelphi, Aberdeen.

Other agenda items will be arrangements for May Day on 5th May. There are also a number of new events as part of our 150th anniversary celebrations. The new Exec will bring you up to date on plans for these events.

The Annual Report has been published and copies were circulated at the STUC Congress to great acclaim. The meeting will hear about the Congress and the high profile of the ATUC delegates again this year.

We hope as many delegates as possible can attend this important meeting.

Join us on our May Day March and Rally in our 150th year

Aberdeen's May Day March & Rally for International Workers' Day will be held on Saturday 5th May this year.

The event is organised as always by Aberdeen Trades Union Council. Each year, people across the globe take to the streets to commemorate International Workers' Day, or May Day.

ATUC President, Kathleen Kennedy said, "In our 150th anniversary year we want to make our May Day March and Rally an event to remember.

"We are calling on trade unions, community groups, friends and families to join us with banners and placards.

"We want to give a clear message on International Workers Day that workers matter. We are the backbone of our society and should be treated with respect, decently paid and their workplaces should be safe, healthy and family friendly.

"We shouldn't need to strike to defend our pensions, our pay and our terms and conditions - yet we do. Events like our May Day March show solidarity and support for our struggles."

Please gather at Rubislaw Terrace at 11.00am, to march off at 11.30am down Union Street. A rally will be held in the Castlegate from 12.15pm, with a range of speakers from trade unions, local politicians and community activists.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

An introduction to economics for trade union and community activists - 9 May 2018 at 7pm

As part of its 150th Anniversary celebrations, Aberdeen Trades Union Council is supporting aseries of  talks aimed at demystifying economics. 

The first is to be held on 9 May at Aberdeen Trade Union Council, 22a Adelphi, Aberdeen.   It will be presented by Keith Paterson, Phd student at Aberdeen University and long-time trade unionist and political activist.

Please get along if you can and circulate details widely to union branches, contacts and activists. 
Drawing on the concepts of Marx, Keynes and contemporary radical economists, these talks aim to provide a critical introduction to a political economy approach to understanding the central dynamics of the economy and provide a framework for understanding how capitalism works and how crises come about.    

For trade union and community activists the aim is to provide a tool kit to question what is presented in the media and by so called experts about economic issues and provide an alternative way of examining the economy.
A major objective is to demystify orthodox economics which has been found wanting yet continues to provide the ideological justification for austerity, cuts and privatisation.

For further information, contact Keith at

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Tributes at Holyrood to ATUC in our 150th year

Lewis Macdonald, MSP and Aberdeen Trades Union Council Consultative member, pays tribute to Aberdeen Trades Union Council in the year of our 150th Anniversary, as he leads his Members' Business debate on this in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 17th April 2018.

You can hear his full speech by clicking here

ATUC Vice-President Donna Clark and Executive Member Laura McDonald attended the debate in Holyrood and presented Lewis with our ATUC 150th celebratory badges and our 2017 Annual Report.

In his speech, Lewis outlined the history of Aberdeen Trades Union Council and the important role that it and its affiliates have played in the North East of Scotland.

He highlighted the important role of all Trades Union Councils across Scotland. Delegates attend the STUC Congress on the same basis as delegates from affiliated unions and Lewis explained that more ATUC delegates would have been at the debate if it didn't co-incide with Congress where the ATUC was playing a full part in those proceedings.

Lewis also brought greetings from Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, who was unable to be in Holyrood because he too was in Aviemore addressing the STUC Congress.

Aberdeen Trades Union Council would like to express our thanks to Lewis for highlighting Aberdeen Trades Union Council in the Scottish Parliament in this our 150th year, and for all his support to the ATUC over the years as a Consultative member and our local Labour MSP.

Thank you Lewis!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Please come along to our Workers' Memorial Day service to "Remember the dead, fight for the living."

Please join us in our 150th year at the annual Workers' Memorial Service. It will be held on Saturday 28th April in the Persley Walled Garden, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. Please gather at 12.30pm for a service at 1pm.

Click here for A4 poster 

Click here for A5 flyer

International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD) takes place all over the world on 28th April each year.

Its purpose is two-fold. Firstly it is about not forgetting those who have died, been injured, or made ill by their work. Secondly it is about ensuring that this tragic loss and suffering are used to reinvigorate the campaign for healthier and safer work.

 This year’s theme is ‘unionised workplaces are safer workplaces’. See the list of events around Scotland on the Scottish Hazards website – along with posters for each event.

ATUC Vice-President Donna Clark said, "Health and safety in our workplaces protects those at work. 

"It also protects those in the wider community. Whether it is a hospital, school or care home our elderly and vulnerable relatives, our children and our communities are also protected by measures intended to keep everyone safe from harm.

"In a year where we are still seeing people killed, injured or made ill at their work it is ever more important to come together to 'Remember the dead, fight for the living!'

"We look forward to seeing you all there"

Monday, 2 April 2018

Please come on Saturday 7th April and protest the Land Day Massacre in Gaza

We are urging all our delegates, associates, supporters and their friends and families to join a protest  this Saturday 7th April 1pm to 3pm  in St Nicholas Square, Aberdeen to show your solidarity with the people of Gaza who have been victims of yet another shocking carnage perpetrated by the State of Israel. 

Seventeen Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip on Friday as Israel used massive violence against tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators who had gathered along the Gaza-Israel boundary to demand dignity, justice and freedom.
Nearly 1,500 were injured, nearly half by the Israeli soldiers shooting  live bullets at the peaceful demonstrators.
Twenty Palestinians are said to be in critical condition.
One of those killed on Friday was farmer Omar Wahid Samour, 26, who died when Israeli forces fired artillery shells at him while he was on his land, more than 700 meters from the boundary fence, in southern Gaza.
Two million people living in Gaza have been victim of a brutal siege and serial bombardments since 2006 leading to sustained devastating effects on the population including shortages of medical supplies, electricity and fuel.
Despite the outrage of the international community at this appalling situation, Israel continues its policy of human right abuses with impunity.
Sign the petition calling our Government to condemn Israel’s actions aimed deliberately at unarmed civilians and to take the necessary steps to get the UN to agree actions to end the 12-year long siege of Gaza.
Join us this  Saturday 7th April at 1pm to 3pm in St Nicholas Square, Aberdeen   to express outrage at the extra judicial killings in response to a democratic protest against an illegal siege and occupation. Join us to demand dignity, justice and freedom for our brothers and sisters in Gaza.
Speakers already confirmed are - Jonathan Russell (CND), Kate Ramsden (UNISON and ATUC Executive Committee), a Representative  from the Palestine Student Society,  Tyrine Rutherford (Unite  and ATUC delegate)

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’ Desmond Tutu

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Detention of Palestinian children breaches their rights under the UNCRC

Recently ATUC Exec member and former President Kate Ramsden spoke at a public event organised jointly by SPSC and ATUC as part of their 150th anniversary commemoration, on the detention of Palestinian children by the state of Israel. Here is the text of that presentation for any who wish to read it.

"As well as a trade union activist I am a social worker to trade and for the past almost 20 years I’ve been a children’s rights officer  – what I like to refer to as “my proper job.”

It’s a job I love. Firmly based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (the UNCRC) my colleague and I work with and for children who are looked after and placed away from home, and other children needing a rights service. We are involved only with the express agreement of the young person and they have control of what we do, unless there is risk to them or others, and even then we would not act without their knowledge. For children who often don’t have a lot of power in their lives, this helps to promote their confidence and their resilience – crucially important for their future life chances. 

Over those 20 years I have seen the acceptance that children have rights widen. Now all legislation relating to children incorporates reference to their rights under the UNCRC. The importance of children having a voice in matters affecting them has become widely accepted and very gradually cultures in this country are changing. Children are empowered to speak and adults see the value of listening.

I feel privileged to have been a part of this change. 

Which is not to say that things are perfect in this country. But there is progress.

And it is because of my background I suppose that I see so clearly when children are not being valued across the world, where their rights are not being respected or are being ridden roughshod over.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Please come along to the next ATUC Delegates meeting on Wednesday 04 April 2018 at 7.30pm

The first ATUC Delegates meeting after our AGM in March will be held on Wednesday 04 April 2018 at 7.30pm within the ATUC premises at 22A Adelphi Aberdeen.

The 150th year events will once again be agenda items along with the Annual Report 2017 for which adverts and articles have all been received.

Other agenda items will be discussing arrangements for IWMD and May Day, both important events for this anniversary year, and the new Exec will bring you up to date on plans for these and other events.

We hope as many Delegates as possible can attend this important meeting.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Join us to "Remember the dead, fight for the living" at our annual Workers' Memorial Day Service

Please join us in our 150th year at the annual Workers' Memorial Service. It will be held on Saturday 28th April in the Persley Walled Garden, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. Please gather at 12.30pm for a service at 1pm.

International Workers Memorial Day (IWMD) takes place all over the world on 28th April each year.

Its purpose is two-fold. Firstly it is about not forgetting those who have died, been injured, or made ill by their work. Secondly it is about ensuring that this tragic loss and suffering are used to reinvigorate the campaign for healthier and safer work.

ATUC Vice-President Donna Clark said, "In a year where we are still seeing people killed, injured or made ill at their work it is ever more important to come together to 'Remember the dead, fight for the living!'

"We look forward to seeing you all there"

ATUC sends messages of solidarity to striking Unite members as union slams "intransigent" First Bus

ATUC members including Scott Sutherland and John Connon have visited Unite First Bus members on the picket line during their current strike action to pass on solidarity and support from ATUC as Unite members enter their second week of action.

Yesterday Unite blasted management for suspending negotiations which might have ended indefinite strike action at First Aberdeen.

“What are we supposed to do - sign these new contracts on our knees?” asked Unite branch convenor, Mike Flynn.

Last week drivers at First Bus in Aberdeen decided to go on an indefinite strike in protest against new contracts. Among other things the First Bus proposals include an increase in drivers’ working hours for reduced wages, reduced sick pay, reduced annual leave and holiday pay, and an end to paid breaks for drivers on duty.

Despite the draconian nature of these plans Unite Scotland has been prepared to negotiate on terms. But the mood among the drivers is hardening with the bus bosses’ intransigence.

Unite First Bus Branch convenor, Mike Flinn, said “It’s no wonder that the drivers are ready to go on indefinite strike. And it’s no wonder the mood is getting more hard line. These proposals mean that many drivers will be losing more than £5000 a year on their earnings. First Bus Managing Director likes to talk about give and take. Well it’s Unite members that are doing the giving and First Bus doing the taking.”

A meeting of members is due to take place tomorrow.

Human ‘statue’ of Kurdish symbol of resistance unveiled in Dundee

ATUC Secretary, Fiona Napier joined activists in Dundee on Saturday 24 March as they demonstrated solidarity with the Kurdish people in Northern Syria by unveiling a human ‘statue’ of Kawa the Blacksmith, a symbol of resistance.

Fiona was featured in the Evening Telegraph as she took a message of solidarity to campaigners from Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan (SSK) and Dundee Trades Union Council as they came together to oppose ongoing Turkish aggression in the region.

Following Turkey’s invasion of Afrin – one of three cantons which make up the Rojava region - in January, Afrin city fell to the invaders last week.

In a symbolic demonstration of the seizure of power, the soldiers pulled down the statue of Kawa the Blacksmith, a mythic Kurdish figure who represents the triumph of ordinary people over tyrannical rule.

In defiance of this move, Scottish campaigners produced their own statue of Kawa, in the form of a person covered in silver paint, holding his famed Blacksmith’s hammer in one hand, a Kurdish YPG (People’s Defence Units) flag in the other.

Read more here.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Please come along to a public talk this Thursday 22nd March on child prisoners as part of our 150th Anniversary events

Please join us for a public talk on Thursday 22nd March at 7pm on Palestinian child prisoners to be held in the Unite the Union office, 42-44 King Street, Aberdeen AB24 5TJ.

This event is co-hosted by Aberdeen Trades Union Council and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Aberdeen and is part of a year of activities to mark the 150th anniversary of ATUC in 2018.

Kate Ramsden, UNISON NEC member and a member of the ATUC Executive has dedicated her career to defending children’s rights, and will be introducing a discussion on what we can do from Scotland to stand up for the rights of Palestinian children.  

Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) has submitted a motion to this year's STUC Congress condemning the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli courts and prisons and calling for action to end the detention and mis-treatment of Palestinian minors by Israel.

The text includes the phrase below.

‘The arrest of 16 year old Ahed Tamimi has shone a spotlight on Israel’s systematic abuse of minors through the process of military detention. The treatment of Ahed rightly generated a global response, but her situation is far from unique. Each year, the Israeli military arrests and prosecutes around 700 Palestinian children. Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and a denial of their basic rights. This is in clear breach of their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a signatory.’

Please join us for this important event.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Solidarity to Unite members in First Bus taking action against cuts in pay and conditions

Aberdeen Trades Union Council sends support and solidarity to Unite members in First Aberdeen who will begin an overtime ban from Friday 16th March followed by a series of one day strikes, culminating in a week-long strike from 26th March.
ATUC is calling on all affiliates and supporters not to use First Aberdeen buses on strike days, in solidarity with striking workers.

The dispute is a result of imposed changes to terms and condition in pay, overtime rates, sick pay, removal of paid breaks and longer working days with split shifts.

The imposed changes will lead to cuts in pay for workers ranging from 10% to 23% depending on the level of overtime worked.

The vote for action was overwhelming. Unite members voted 95% in favour of action and action short of strike in an 81% turnout.

Unite regional officer, Willie Wallace said: “First Bus is arguing that they need  these changes to stem the decline in their financial performance, but when Unite put alternative suggestions for making the savings to the company, these were rejected.

"Our members have shown by the high vote for industrial action, how angry they are with First Bus around the imposition of these cuts and have been forced, reluctantly, to withdraw their labour.

“We have a situation where a two-tier workforce has meant new starts are employed on lesser terms and conditions than those on older contracts. This needs to stop and our members have made this clear with this result.

“First Aberdeen should reconsider Unite’s proposals which would halt this action.”

ATUC sends another message of solidarity and support to UCU Aberdeen

Aberdeen Trades Union Council has sent a further message of solidarity to our colleagues in our affiliated union, the UCU who tomorrow will conclude 14 days of strike action to defend their pensions.

President Kathleen Kennedy, elected at the AGM on 14th March sent an email of support to Aberdeen UCU. Delegates at the AGM also pledged a donation of £100 to the UCU Aberdeen hardship fund.

The UCU Aberdeen website reports that more than 50% of Aberdeen UCU members responded to an informal consultation regarding the output of the ACAS talks between UCU and Universities UK.

Dr David Watts represented Aberdeen at the UCU HQ meeting which took place in London on Tuesday.

The branch had to react quickly and made every effort, given the deadline, to engage all members in forming a collective response. The position of the branch is that Aberdeen UCU rejects the proposal brokered via the Acas-mediated talks.

It should be noted this position is in keeping with that made public by many other branches.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Come along to the Aberdeen Trades Union Council AGM on Wed 14th March

Delegates and associates are urged to come along to the ATUC AGM on Wednesday 14th March at  22a Adelphi, Aberdeen at 7.30pm.

This is a very important meeting where new officers are elected for the coming year, the accounts for 2017 are approved and plans made for the forthcoming events in our 150th anniversary year.

We have important events coming up including International Workers' Memorial Day and our May Day March and Rally as well as the STUC Congress in April.

We really hope that as many delegates as possible will attend and look forward to seeing you then.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

ATUC - we must organise to win for our members

Joint-President Tyrinne Rutherford used his speech at the Aberdeen City Civic Reception launching the 150th anniversary celebrations of the ATUC, to highlight the challenges facing trade unions now and to call on us to organise to win for our members.
Tyrinne Rutherford

“BROTHERS SISTERS COMRADES; If you look at the history of employers’ treatment of worker through history their goal hasn’t changed, but their tactics have.

They still want to pay us peanuts to maximise profit and they’ll do that to any that they see fits.

For instance zero hour contracts, and the fact they want contracts to be a bit of paper that say you'll work when we want you to work, go home when we want you to go home and this is your pay.

Remember what you were taught about the Victorian era of men turning up to the factory each morning with no guarantee of work or pay. That’s what the gig economy is like. Ask those workers at Deliveroo racing each other to get people’s order of food.

A Brief History of the ATUC

Vice President, Kathleen Kennedy
Kathleen Kennedy Vice President gave a very brief account of the history of Aberdeen Trades Union Council at the Aberdeen City Council's Civic Reception

ATUC began obviously in 1868 given we are celebrating our 150th year this year and the launch of our anniversary celebrations being this Aberdeen City Council's civic reception  
When preparing for this talk Kathleen discovered the foundations were being laid before that - in fact in 1846 as there was an 'agreement' between different trades to support each other as the textile industry collapsed and the service sector began inhibited the development of trade unionism - well nothing changed there? But they haven't yet and they won't!

In 1868 during a 10 weeks Stone Mason's strike in the Granite City saw the coming together of 13 societies of masons and branches under  the leadership of John Jessiman  chairmanship to form the Trades Council - which we know as ATUC.
Morag Lawrence's (Assistant secretary) Great Gran was affected by this strike, in fact she was going to a wedding and couldn't afford new clothes for the wedding! So she and others went into a shop here in Aberdeen. Tried on new clothes and then putting on their own clothes on top and left without paying! They did get caught and Morag's Great Gran was imprisoned - this shows the impact of the strike and the hardship it meant for people - it's good to see Morag as part of the ATUC today and illustrates just how much her family has been in trade unionism over the years.

Aberdeen Trades Union Council launches its 150th Anniversary year in style

Kevin Hutchens, Kathleen Kennedy, Satnam Ner,
Barney Crockett, Tyrinne Rutherford and
Grahame Smith
Aberdeen Trades Union Council's 150th Anniversary celebrations got off to a high profile start this week with three excellent events formally launching our anniversary year and recognising the work of the ATUC locally.

Our thanks go to the STUC and Aberdeen City Council for hosting receptions to mark this important year.

STUC reception and launch of research proposal
The events began with a reception on Wednesday afternoon, 7th March hosted by the STUC in the Town House, Aberdeen to mark our150th anniversary. We were delighted that the General Council held their meeting in Aberdeen before this event.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

STUC brings support and solidarity to UCU members striking to defend their pensions

The STUC brought messages of support to striking UCU members in Aberdeen today as their Deputy General Secretary visited picket lines around the city.

The STUC General Council held a special meeting in Aberdeen to mark the 150th anniversary celebrations for the Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

Deputy General Secretary, Dave Moxham, took the opportunity to visit the UCU Aberdeen picket lines this morning, bringing solidarity messages from all the General Council members and the hundreds of thousands of workers across Scotland that they collectively represent.

Aberdeen Trades Union Council would like to add our own message of solidarity and support to our colleagues in the UCU in their ongoing fight to defend their pensions and to pay tribute to their members for their solid backing for the 14 days of strike action.

STUC General Council to join Aberdeen TUC in 150th Anniversary celebration and launch new research project into the Aberdeen Economy

Grahame Smith
On Wednesday 7th March, the STUC General Council will convene in Aberdeen City Chambers for a special meeting to mark the 150th Anniversary of Aberdeen TUC.

At a special meeting with Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire trade unionists at 1.30pm in the City Chambers, STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith will launch a new research project into the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire economy.

 Grahame Smith said,

 “Trade unions continue to play a vital role in Aberdeen and the Aberdeen TUC has a proud history of standing up for workers in the area.  It is an enormous pleasure to come to Aberdeen along with trade union leaders from across Scotland to mark the historic anniversary.

“Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire economy is of vital importance to the Scottish economy. Yet in recent years it has seen significant changes. The fall in oil and gas prices has led to a loss of offshore jobs and a change in the composition of the workforce. Significant investment in capital infrastructure projects has led to a boost in the construction workforce, although with large-scale infrastructure projects coming to an end this is likely to change further.  

"This research will look at the changing nature of the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire economy, particularly within the energy, construction and public service sectors.”

Thursday, 1 March 2018

STUC and Aberdeen City Council helps ATUC launch its 150th Anniversary Celebrations

Aberdeen Trades Union Council will formally launch its 150th Anniversary Celebrations by welcoming the STUC General Council to Aberdeen Town House for its meeting on 7th March.

Following the meeting the STUC General Council will meet with ATUC officers and delegates in the Town and County Hall in the Town House, Aberdeen and will present the research that the STUC is proposing to undertake on the North East economy.

Kathleen Kennedy, Vice President said, "We are delighted that the STUC General Council has travelled to Aberdeen for their General Council Meeting and to host this afternoon reception to kick start our 150th anniversary celebrations.

"We are particularly pleased that they have chosen this event to present their proposals for their special research project on the economy of the North East of Scotland.

"We hope that as many ATUC delegates as possible will get along to this event."

Dave Moxham, Depute General Secretary of the STUC said, "We are delighted to host this reception which will include members of the STUC General Council and trade unionists from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. 

"The event will mark the anniversary of the ATUC but will also provide an opportunity for discussion on the challenges facing the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire economies and the quality of work."

Civic Reception
This will be followed in the evening by a Civic Reception organised by Aberdeen City Council and hosted by the Lord Provost. 

Kevin Hutchens, President said, "This event is a celebration of 150 years of Trade Union activity in the City of Aberdeen and in Aberdeenshire.

"The Trade Union Movement is proud of its history of fighting for the rights of workers in the City and Shire."

Attendance at this event is by invitation.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

ATUC 150th Anniversary Year Diary


  • January 24 - Film "Belonging" at Belmont Cinema
  • January 28 - Sunday - Holocaust Memorial Day, Castlegate
  • March 3 - Protest Conservative Conference, AECC 0800 hours - 1730 hours
  • March 7 - STUC Event - Aberdeen City Council's Civic Reception to launch our 150th anniversary celebrations
  • March 8 - International Women's Day's rally at the Castlegate at 1830
  • March 22 - Public talk on Palestinian Child Prisoners 
  • April 16-18 - STUC Congress in Aviemore
  • April 17 - Lewis Macdonald leads a debate in Holyrood on the ATUC 150th anniversary
  • April 28 - International Workers Memorial Day (memorial held at Persley Gardens) 
  • May 5 - Mayday March and Rally
  • May 9 -  An introduction to economics for trade union and community activists
  • May 19 - Spring Clean of ATUC Offices and Cataloguing of Books and Artefacts
  • May 26 - Aberdeen Pride 
  • June 2 - ATUC stall and the Feein Market, Stonehaven
  • June 14 - Vigil to remember Grenfell one year on
  • June 26 - Trade Union History talk by Jurgen Thomanek
  • June/July  - International Brigade Memorial Trust event (date to be confirmed)
  • November 9 - Aberdeenshire Council's Civic Reception
  • November 24 - St Andrews Day March

Keep checking this as dates will be added throughout the year as we celebrate our 150th Anniversary

Protest the Tory Conference in Aberdeen on 3rd March 2018

ATUC delegates are urged to get along to a protest against cuts and austerity at the Conservative Party Conference in the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. The protest will last from 8am to 5.30pm on Saturday 3rd of March 2018 outside the conference entrance of the AECC.

The protest will highlight the damage of austerity by having a food bank collection outside the conference alongside the picketing. We will display it for them all to see! Please bring along a small contribution for the food bank.

This will show that the people of Aberdeen stand united against the cuts and the fall in living standards that are leaving so many in absolute poverty. 

The organisers said, "Austerity is a cruel and politically motivated agenda that results in us all suffering. We see disabled deaths rise, we see higher levels of child poverty, we see higher levels of working poor all whilst the rich friends of the Tories are getting richer; richer on the back of our suffering.

"This on top of the shameful Rape Clause supported by Ruth Davidson! Let's show them we are a community who have compassion and care. Let's show them we will defend our poorest and most vulnerable!"

Click here for more information on Facebook

Thursday, 22 February 2018

UCU Strike at University of Aberdeen to Defend Pensions

ATUC sends solidarity and support to University of Aberdeen staff in the University and College Union (UCU) who will begin fourteen days of strikes throughout the rest of February and into March today after drastic cuts to staff pensions were announced which would see their pension entitlements being cut by £10,000 a year.

They join colleagues from over 60 branches across the country who are fighting to defend their pensions after plans to end the defined benefit element of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) continue to be pushed through.  This is following the current trend of attacks on pensions across other sectors, where profit and short term concerns are used to justify sweeping changes to pensions at the expense of workers.

Staff have also received support and backing from students and the Aberdeen University Student Association who said:
"AUSA are in support of the strike: we believe that our lecturers deserve fair pay and conditions, and recognise the long-term negative effects these pension cuts will have on the quality of students’ education" - AUSA
Staff and students have set up a number of fund-raising events for the strike action - if you'd like to get involved, go along to one of their Aberdeen events here:

For more information see Aberdeen UCU's twitter feed, and website at

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Celebrate International Women's Day with the ATUC on 8th March in the Castlegate, Aberdeen.

Come and celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 in the North East of Scotland at a Rally in the Castlegate, Aberdeen beginning at 6.30pm.

Organised by Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) the event will be compered again this year by ATUC Vice-President, Kathleen Kennedy. A great line up of speakers include Gemma Clark, speaking on behalf of the ATUC, Christina McGonigle, Gaelic TV presenter, Cllr Alison Evison, President of CoSLA, Cllr Ross Cassie, a speaker from the WASPI campaign, Rev Robert Smith Rubislaw Church and trade union speakers and supporters.

International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements – from the political to the social – while calling for gender equality.

The International Women’s Day website states: “With the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away - there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress

“And with global activism for women's equality fuelled by movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and more - there is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

“While we know that gender parity won't happen overnight, the good news is that across the world women are making positive gains day by day. Plus, there's indeed a very strong and growing global movement of advocacy, activism and support.”

So please join us on Thursday 8th March. Women and the men who support us are all welcome!

Monday, 5 February 2018

Next ATUC Delegates meeting on Wednesday 07 February 2018

The second ATUC Delegates meeting of the year will be held on Wednesday 07 February 2018 at 7.30pm within the ATUC premises at 22A Adelphi Aberdeen.

The 150th year events will once again be key agenda item, including the Civic Reception event happening on Wednesday 7 March 2018 to launch our 150th birthday celebrations.

Other agenda items include the Annual Report 2017 for which adverts and articles have been steadily received. We will also be discussing arrangements for International Women's Day, International Workers' Memorial Day and May Day as well as the AGM in March.

Please remember that this meeting is the nominations meeting for office bearers and post holders for the year ahead, in preparation for the AGM being held on 14 March 2018.

We hope as many Delegates as possible can attend this important meeting.

Sunday, 4 February 2018


Holocaust Memorial Day is an annual event organised by Aberdeen City Council which the ATUC and local trade unions support. It took place this year on the 28th January.

Here ATUC Vice-President, Kathleen Kennedy, who attended to represent the ATUC gives an account of a very moving event. With thanks to Norman Adams, Aberdeen City Council for the photographs.

"Holocaust Memorial Day marks the liberation from Auschwitz-Birkenau which was the Nazi's largest death camp. Having been there last year I can tell you it was large - almost as large as a small town!

This event was held downstairs in the Belmont cinema which was most appropriate as we remember how many lost their lives and tried to hide from the Nazis.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Holocaust Memorial Day Aberdeen 28th January - "The Power of Words"

You are invited to attend an event in Belmont Film House, Aberdeen on 28th January 2018 to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day.

Entitled "The Power of Words" the event will begin with a reception and refreshments at 11.30am and the film, Sarah's Key will be shown at 1pm. The full programme is detailed below.

You can book a place by clicking here.

Programme at the
The Belmont Cinema
28th January 2018

Presented by

11:30 – 12:00

Reception with refreshments and  musical rendition

dr Wojciech Golec and mgr Marcin Zupanski from the University of Silesia

12:00 – 12:10

Welcome and Introductions by the Lord Provost – Lighting of the candle

Lord Provost

12:10 – 12:13

The power of words… poem recital

Tommy Campbell
12:13 – 12:20

Lessons from Auschwitz
Learning From Auschwitz students

12:20 – 12: 40

‘ONEG SZABAT – Letter from the underground archives of the Warsaw Ghetto 

Professor Tomasz Kawski from the University of Kazimierz Wielki

12:40 – 12:50 

Sumaripen: Why Remembrance Matters

David Donaldson


Yiddish lullaby 

Helen Lynch

13:00 – 14:50

Sarah’s Key

A feature film by
Gilles Paquet-Brenner

15:00 – end

The power of words is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2018. 
Words can make a difference – both for good and evil.