Thursday 8 October 2020

ATUC delegates support #ChallengePovertyWeek

Aberdeen Trades Union Council, at its delegate meeting on 7th October, reaffirmed our commitment to Challenge Poverty Week. Delegates brought along posters and placards for this photo opportunity to say #TogetherWeCan end poverty.

Challenge Poverty Week runs from 5-11 October. It aims to highlight the growing problem of poverty in Scotland and showcase the solutions we can all get behind to solve it.  

With that in mind, ATUC has been sharing articles about how poverty manifests itself in our communities across Scotland and what we need to do to tackle it.

See more on our Facebook page. 

We are particularly concerned about the growing numbers of children growing up in poverty - one in six children in the North East of Scotland. 65% of those children are in a household with one or both parents in work. 

Growing up in poverty has a significant effect on our children, affecting their development, their confidence, their access to opportunities and their health.

Delegates also supported an emergency motion proposed by Gerry McCabe calling for an
Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety (see motion below)

Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety

 (1)    This council notes the launch of the People Before Profit: Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety (which you can find below)

(2)    This council believes that this programme can help to shape the resistance we need to prevent workers and the poorest and most vulnerable bearing the brunt of a health emergency and economic crisis not of their making.

(3)    This council resolves to adopt this programme and to consider ways we can take up its demands in the interests of our members, and publicise them.

(4)    This council resolves to inform the organisers of this emergency programme of our support so that they can use it to show the breadth of support. This should be done by emailing:


An Emergency Programme for Jobs, Services and Safety

Tens of thousands of have unnecessarily died from the Covid pandemic thanks to a government that was ill prepared and put profit ahead of peoples safety. Now, alongside a Covid pandemic that is far from over, we face an avalanche of job losses, more austerity and more attacks on pay and conditions.

We need a fightback across workplaces and communities to demand that ordinary people wont pay for the crisis.

 Extend the Furlough scheme – Defend Jobs: The withdrawal of the governments Furlough scheme will have a devastating impact on jobs: it must be kept in place for at least the next 12 months and be extended to cover all workers regardless of what type of contract they are on – no worker should be left behind. Government should take an ownership stake in firms in return for such support. We demand a 35 hour week for workers with no loss of pay. Firms making profits must be barred from making mass redundancies and shareholder dividend payments should be frozen. Major firms that go bankrupt should be nationalised without compensation with workers provided with a job guarantee. We will support any group of workers that strikes or occupies their workplace to defend jobs.

 Safe workplaces: Both government and employers are pressing to drive ever more people back to work despite the real dangers of a second Covid wave and the utter failure to put a credible test and trace system in place. Unions must sign off any agreements over what constitutes safe working conditions and the right to refuse to work in unsafe workplaces must be strengthened. High quality PPE must be provided. In workplaces without unions, the democratic election of workersreps should be legally provided for, with a right to involve a trade union if requested. We support any group of workers that refuse to work in unsafe workplaces.

Tax the wealthy – dont make workerspay for the crisis: The richest 1,000 people in UK have an estimated combined wealth of £743 billion alone! We need a massive transfer of resources from the rich to protect jobs, services and living standards. The top rate of income tax was 83 percent until 1980 – this should be reinstated. An immediate wealth tax should be imposed on all those with wealth of £1 million and over. We need a Living Wage for all workers of at least £15 per hour and this must be extended to cover those working in the gig economy”. We support all workers fighting for better pay. We reject any argument that pay freezes will save jobs – we need to fight on every front.

Public ownership of services and end outsourcing: Services like Royal Mail, rail, energy and water must be brought back into public ownership. The outsourcing of services to private firms across the health service, civil service, local government and elsewhere must be reversed – no more two tier workforces, one with less pay, security and poorer sickness entitlement.

For an immediate massive programme of green investment: We need to re-purpose” industries like aviation, car production, engineering to urgently address the climate crisis, end dependency on fossil fuels and to provide a million climate jobs.  We need a massive programme of investment in council housing and in public transport.

 A welfare system that provides real social security and dignity: Universal Credit and the Bedroom Tax must both be scrapped and benefit sanctions halted. Benefit payments should be massively increased and the moratorium on housing evictions must be maintained.

Get organised!

 Build fighting unions and solidarity with every fightback: to defend the interests of workers we need to rebuild the trade union movement. We need to draw millions of workers facing job losses, low pay, lack of safety at work into the unions – and we need tens of thousands of new reps and activists who can help organise campaigns, strikes and protest to defend workers. Unions that fightback can recruit members and enthuse a new generation of activists. Every group of workers that fights back should be flooded with messages of support, donations to their strike fund and invites to address union and labour movement meetings. We demand the repeal of all the anti-trade union laws.

Equality and unity - dont let them divide us: Governments that want to shift the burden of a crisis onto the shoulders of workers and the poor will also turn to more scapegoating, division and racism to help push their attacks through. We will organise to challenge and oppose all forms of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia and discrimination against disabled people. Only though unity based on equality can we fight back effectively.