Sunday 22 November 2020

ATUC - leading in disabilities since the 1800s - celebrates Disability History Month

Aberdeen Trades Union Council is celebrating Disability History Month which takes place between the 18th November to the 20 December every year.

With a theme this year of Access: How far have we come? How far have we to go? it is timely to note that Aberdeen Trades Union Council's (ATUC) involvement with and support of disabled workers isn't new.

ATUC has a long history of campaigning for equalities and has been disability friendly from as far back as 1886, when two blind delegates attended Trades Union Council meetings for the first time. The two delegates were Mr  Johnston and Mr John Keir.  Keir had lost his sight as a result of an accident he had as a child aged four.

John Keir who was originally from Strathdon, went on to serve as ATUC President from 1895 – 1898 and he was also the Vice President  between 1888 - 1893.  He had an incredible memory for facts and figures and he barely got a delegate’s name wrong if at all.  John Keir was also the STUC President for a year 1898 when the STUC held their second conference which was in Aberdeen. Not only was Keir one of the former ATUC presidents he had also was one of the directors of the Co-operative and elected to the school board in 1894 and became chairman in 1911.

Throughout its long history ATUC has campaigned for disabled workers rights and encouraged disabled delegates to fully participate in all ATUC actvities, resulting in the ATUC electing in 2018, its second woman President, Kathleen Kennedy, who is also disabled.

This clearly shows that the  ATUC has been involved with disabled workers for well over a hundred years with disabled Trade Union activists in leading positions. 

We continue our commitment to support all disabled trade unionists to fully participate in ATUC business and therefore ensure that disabled delegates can influence trade union decisions at local level as well as within the STUC.