Sunday, 1 August 2021

ATUC supports urgent action on climate change as Rainbow Warrior visits Aberdeen

Steve Gray joined politicians and climate campaigners when he spoke on behalf of Aberdeen Trade Union Council at the Greenpeace Just Transition event at Aberdeen Harbour.

The event took place on Saturday 24th July. The Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior had docked in Aberdeen as part of its journey to engage workers and citizens in discussion around a just transition, in advance of the COP26 Climate Conference coming to Scotland.

Steve spoke of the impact of climate change on the communities in the North East of Scotland and the role of trade unions in supporting just transition and climate justice. He called for urgent action to tackle the climate crisis.


Wednesday, 28 July 2021

ATUC Stands in Suport of Striking Housing Officers

The ATUC stands in suport of the Housing Officers and Housing Support Officers who have been forced to take strike action in order to protect services to tenants.  The four day strike is this week until Friday, with the the picket line outside of Marischal College from about 9am til lpm.

Aberdeen Trades Union Council wrote to Angela Scott, Chief Executive of Aberdeen City Council to express our concerns and support for the workers in dispute.

Angela Scott
Chief Executive
Aberdeen City Council

Dear Angela,

Ref: Unite Members on strike

Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) has received a report and update on the current dispute between Unite and Aberdeen City Council at our last monthly meeting.

ATUC fully supports the stand taken by the striking housing officers and housing support officers in order to protect the service to the tenants.

This is a very commendable and honourable stance for Unite members to take and its disappointing that the Council does not appear to want to resolve the dispute.

It appears to the ATUC that this is yet another cost savings only exercise by the City Council which does not appear to take on the concerns of the front line staff especially of the severe impact the Council's proposals would have on the council's tenants.

ATUC have always opposed Council cuts as the impact is always felt by the citizens who reply on the Council's services and in the case of this dispute the staff who would have to deal with the stress of detrimental changes to their roles in providing the much needed services to the tenants.

Can you advise if an equality impact assessment and associated H&S stress impact assessment has been carried out on the potential impact the proposed changes may have on both the staff and the council's tenants and if so have these assessments been shared with and discussed with the staff and the council's tenants as well.

We do hope that the dispute can be resolved soon.

We look forward to your reply

Yours sincerely
Graeme Farquhar
President, ATUC

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

On the 33rd anniversary of Piper Alpha ATUC remembers those who lost their lives

On the 33rd anniversary of the Piper Alpha fatal accident, Aberdeen Trades Union Council joined the memorial service to commemorate and remember the 167 workers who were tragically killed on 6th July 1988.

Graeme Farquhar, ATUC President said: "Our
thoughts are with the families, work colleagues and friends of all those who lost their lives in that tragedy."

ATUC delegate, Issy Sutherland (pictured left) laid a wreath from Unite Offshore Catering branch, in memory of those who died.

Graeme added, "Whilst we remember all those who were killed we shall never forget that this offshore accident was caused by inadequate maintenance and safety procedures by the operator Occidental.

  “The oil and gas industry is driven  by cost reductions, with cutting corners and jobs being lost to save money to increase the profits of the offshore oil and gas employers.

"What is disgraceful is that we know that the  Piper Alpha fatal accident could have been avoided as it  was caused by cost-driven decisions. 

"When costs to the employers become more important than workers safety then the  Piper Alpha fatal accident shows that the result is deadly and  catastrophic for the workers."

Aberdeen Trades Union Council supports all the offshore based Trade Unions who continue the fight to make sure the offshore oil and gas industry has  a safe working environment to ensure all offshore workers can return home to their families and friends.

Friday, 2 July 2021

ATUC remembers those affected by asbestos and work related disease

ATUC President Graeme Farquhar and Exec member, Tommy Campbell laid a wreath on behalf of the ATUC in Johnston Gardens on 1st July at the memorial service hosted by Action on Asbestos. 

They joined representatives from Aberdeen City Council and other local organisations in remembering those who have lost their lives or been made ill by mesothelioma, lung cancer and all other asbestos and work-related disease and injury.

Action on Asbestos was formerly Clydeside Action on Asbestos and is Scotland's leading asbestos – industrial injury and disease charity. They provide emotional and practical support to those affected by mesothelioma, lung cancer and all other asbestos and work-related disease and injury.

For more information on the charity and their work see their website at


Friday, 28 May 2021

Come along to the Morning Star Our Class Our Culture event on 50th anniversary of the union movement defeat of anti-trade union laws

 Please come along to the Morning Star Our Class Our Culture event on Tuesday 1st June at 7pm to look at how the trade union movement defeated anti-trade union laws and an anti-working class government 50 years ago and the lessons we can learn for the present day.

The zoom link is:

The event will be chaired by UNISON national executive member and ATUC member Kate Ramsden, and speakers are:

Davie Cooper - on the UCS action, how unity was won and maintained, how broader support was won across Britain

George Kerr - on how broader unity was secured in workplaces across the Clyde and further afield and the role of the shop stewards movement and liaison committee

Brenda Carson - on current challenges, the fight back by women trade unions and how memories of the past can inspire the present

Jackson Cullinane - on lessons for the present

There has never been a more important time to be in a trade union and for collective action. Many of the challenges that face us have parallels from 50 years ago and hearing about those successes can only inspite us for the fights ahead. 

Please join us.

Friday, 21 May 2021

Weekend of solidarity action with Palestine - please join us

Despite the "ceasefire", Aberdeen Trades Union Council continues to call urgently for solidarity with Palestine. We therefore call on all our delegates, associates, their friends and families in Aberdeen and North East Scotland to come out once again, as they did last week, and stand with Palestine.

Please gather outside the Alhikmah Mosque (on Nelson Street) at 4pm where we will march peacefully together to Marischal Square (outside Marischal College), for a rally at approximately 4.30pm. Please bring signs, flags and banners, observe social distancing and wear a mask.

This will be part of a weekend of events in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

On Saturday May 22nd, from 12noon, SPSC will hold a solidarity stall near Union Square and Aberdeen train station. All are welcome to join and support our engagement with the public.

The Alhikmah Mosque will hold an all day event and exhibition on Sunday May 23rd, with speakers from 2pm - further details on the poster below. 

Thursday, 13 May 2021

ATUC Statement in solidarity with Palestinian comrades

Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) strongly condemns illegal state-sanctioned attempts to forcibly expel Palestinian families from their homes in Sheik Jarrah, to allow them to be occupied by Israeli illegal settlers. 

The actions of the Israeli state demonstrate that the ‘Nakba’ (Catastrophe) of 1948, when 700 000 Palestinians were driven from their homes and became refugees, is still happening today.

The military provocations and violence taking place in Al Aqsa and now Gaza are not isolated events, but are instead just the latest examples of the oppression and aggression faced daily by the Palestinian population living either under a brutal military occupation in Gaza and West
Bank, or as second-class citizens within Israel.

The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MSP, the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party
Anas Sarwar MSP, and the Scottish Green Party have all strongly condemned Israel’s violence
and aggression and gross breaches of international law, and ATUC calls on elected officials
across Scotland to do the same.

The lack of action by the UK government in holding Israel to account in any meaningful way is
unacceptable and we call for an immediate halt to UK arms sales to Israel as a first step.

ATUC stands in solidarity with our Palestinian comrades, and we recognise and fully support the
role of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign in compelling Israel to adhere to
international law.

Please get along to the socially distanced demo in Aberdeen's Marischal Square on Sat 15 May and stand with Palestine

Aberdeen Trades Union Council is urging all our delegates, associates, families and friends to gather in Marischal Square at 2pm on Saturday 15th May to protest against Israel's escalating violence against the Palestinian people.
Palestinians are calling on us to protest, to demonstrate our solidarity and to take action.Please bring your signs, flags and banners. Please also observe social distancing and wear a mask. 
As Palestinians continue to resist Israel's ongoing programme of ethnic cleansing, on Saturday Palestinians will also commemorate 73 years since the Nakba - when almost 1 million Palestinians were expelled from their homes, hundreds of villages were destroyed and hundreds massacred by Zionist militias - the catastrophe that led to the founding of the apartheid state of Israel. 

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Freeport proposal must benefit workers and communities

Following the last meeting of Aberdeen Trades Union Council, President Graeme Farquhar  has written to councillors seeking assurances on Freeports.

Dear Councillor,

Aberdeen Freeport

Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) is the collective voice of trade unions in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and has affiliated branches representing tens of thousands of workers in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

We note that the Scottish Government issued an invitation for bids for ‘Greenports’ in early 2021, and at its meeting on 3 February 2021 Aberdeen City Council’s City Growth and Resources Committee instructed the relevant Chief Officer to work with the UK and Scottish Governments, the Harbour Board and all other stakeholders to conduct a feasibility study for a Freeport for the City Region and report back to the next meeting on 11 May 2021. 

This follows the positive response of Aberdeen City Council in May 2020 to the UK Government consultation on Freeports, and the 2020 report of the Council’s Economic Policy Panel (on which there is not trade union representation) which noted that Council Officers had already been working “on the feasibility of a free port/enterprise model for the city region”.

A Freeport, or any enterprise, cannot function without workers and the implications for workers are fundamentally important to the design and principles behind a Freeport. We are disappointed that the Committee has not yet seen fit to communicate with ATUC, with a view to examining the implications of different Freeport models for workers. We remain ready and willing to work with Aberdeen City Council to do this, and in the interim wish to make a number of comments.

Monday, 10 May 2021

Join Scottish Palestine Solidarity Aberdeen on Monday 17th May to mark Nakba Day

All delegates and associates of ATUC are invited to join Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) Aberdeen’s event to mark Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate the destruction of their homeland which forcibly displaced over 700,000 Palestinian refugees.

Before the event, SPSC is encouraging everyone to watch the film 1948: Creation and Catastrophe, which will be screening online between May 11th and 15th.

Register here (£2 donation) to watch the film online between May 11th and 15th:

You are then invited to join the event (via Zoom) on Monday, May 17th, 7pm to discuss the themes of the film and what the Nakba means in the context of our Palestine solidarity movement.

Email for Zoom details.

Fiona Napier of SPSC Aberdeen said, “We are also delighted to be joined by Manal Shqair, based in the Occupied West Bank, and working with Stop the Wall. She will speak on the topic of what the Nakba means for Palestinian youth today, as well as take questions and join the discussion.

“We also hope to be joined by local Palestinians, as well as friends and supporters keen to share perspectives and learn.

“Please join us on May 17th.”

For more information go to the Facebook event

SPSC wishes to thank Highland Palestine Film Club and the Network of Photographers for Palestine, who have organised the online film screening.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

ATUC statement on Victory in Europe Day 8th May 2021

 Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) sends friendly greetings to all workers on Victory in
Europe Day.

ATUC remembers the heroism of all peoples across the world who helped defeat fascism in the
Second World War.

Women, men, children of all ages and races stood together united against the evil fascist

ATUC wishes to pay particular attention to the contribution of the resistance movements in the
occupied countries, the military and civil contribution of the Soviet Union, and the labour
movement at home, in particular women workers who played their part in destroying fascism
and bringing peace to Europe.

We honour and remember them forever by campaigning in favour of peace, and against racism
and fascism in all of its forms.

Hope not hate.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

International Workers' Memorial Day - workers' health and safety rights must come before profit

Graeme Farquhar and Donna Clark
International Workers' Memorial Day was a moving event as the small, socially distanced crowd remembered all those who have died, been injured or made ill at their work, so many from Covid 19 but also those who suffered work related accidents and deaths.

The event was organised by Aberdeen Trades Union Council along with Aberdeen City Council. Vice-president, Donna Clark laid a wreath on behalf of the ATUC

Speaking at the event, ATUC President, Graeme Farquhartold those gathered that this year’s theme for International Workers Memorial Day is health and safety is a fundamental workers’ right and this year it is even more important with Covid 19 being with us. 

"This pandemic has exposed an occupational crisis in workplaces not only here but worldwide.  Workers have been denied basic health and safety protection in the  workplace," said Graeme.

He highlighted that in the UK there have been 130 000 breaches of Covid guidelines in the workplace but with the Health and Safety Executive already cut to the bare minimum with the Conservative government’s austerity measures in recent years and now being so poorly resourced, there have been no prosecutions to date and this has resulted in many Covid outbreaks in workplaces. 

Friday, 30 April 2021

Come along to the ATUC May Day online rally and support workers' rights and international solidarity

Please join us at our Aberdeen Trades Union Council online May Day event on Saturday 1st May to celebrate International Workers' Day.

ATUC is joining in with Aberdeen Social Centre and our May Day online rally will take place from 12-1pm with the Social Centre's Radical Cafe continuing the May Day theme from 1-2pm.

You can join the Zoom Meeting here

The ATUC event will be chaired by Aberdeenshire UNISON's Kate Ramsden, whilst the ASC event will be hosted by Fiona Napier of SEPA UNISON. There will be a range of speakers from trade unions, focussing on international solidarity and workers' rights in a time of Covid, alongside political poetry from Tommy Campbell and music from Davy Kettyles.

Find out more here

Tuesday, 27 April 2021


Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) will commemorate the annual International Workers’Memorial Day on Wednesday 28 April at 11:50 for a small, socially distanced service in Persley Walled Gardens, Bridge of Don.

A small number of representatives from affiliated unions will gather at the workers’ memorial to remember all those who have lost their lives, been injured or made ill at their work. The theme, as always, will be to ‘remember the dead, fight for the living.’

Graeme Farquhar, ATUC President said, “This will be a particularly poignant event this year
after fourteen months of the Covid pandemic where so many have lost their lives, many of them
through their work.

“Countless others have been made ill, with many suffering the effects of Long Covid which
leaves them unable to return to work for a long time. We know that our black and minority ethnic colleagues have been hit particularly hard, as have our disabled colleagues.

Friday, 23 April 2021

STUC Congress 2021 - Congress condemns attacks on human rights in Turkey by Erdogan government

Fiona Napier
Supporting the motion from Aberdeen Trades Union Council, STUC Congress condemned the continuing deterioration of democracy and human rights in Turkey and called for the release from prison of elected politicians, journalists and trade union activists.

It backed calls for the restoration of negotiations with Abdullah Öcalan and the PKK for a peaceful settlement for the Kurdish question in Turkey.

Delegates also condemned the invasion of northern Syria by Turkey in October 2019 and the General Council will demand the UK government ends all arms sales to Turkey and hold them accountable for war crimes committed in Syria.

Moving the motion, ATUC’s Fiona Napier told Congress that it has been heart breaking at times to hear some of the contributions over the last few days and to hear of the struggles workers have faced over the past difficult year.

“But it’s also so inspiring see and hear the energy and determination from everyone to make a difference, and it really gives hope that maybe we will see the radical changes we all want to see.”

She added that in the challenging times ahead, we must not forget comrades around the world who are fighting their own battles, especially when they ask for our help and solidarity, and thanked the STUC for the chance to bring this important motion to this year’s Congress.

Fiona condemned Turkey under Erdogan, “where we are witnessing a vicious assault on democratic freedoms and human rights, brazenly carried out in full view. The ruthless crackdown on progressive voices and activists we’ve seen over the past years is not only continuing but is actually intensifying,” slammed Fiona. 

STUC Congress 2021 - Congress backs ATUC call to send congratulations to the Shrewsbury 24

Sasha Brydon
STUC Congress backed a call from Aberdeen Trades Union Council to send congratulations to the Shrewsbury 24 on their legal victory in getting their convictions overturned.

Delegates saluted their determination to secure the justice they deserved in clearing their good names and expressed admiration for the Shrewsbury 24 and their families in never giving up to ensure the truth of their innocence was finally established,

Moving the emergency motion, ATUC secretary and delegate, Sasha Brydon, gave the  background, to the Shrewsbury 24’s 49 year campaign for justice.

He explained that a national building workers’ strike in 1972, saw 24 pickets charged with over 200 offences, with six pickets imprisoned. As a result of this they were blacklisted from their industry. According to the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign this remains “one of the most notorious anti-trade union acts of the state in recent times.”

“The convictions of the Shrewsbury pickets were recently overturned after a successful appeal, righting decades of injustice,” said Sasha, adding that sadly, a number of the Shrewsbury pickets did not live to see their conviction overturned.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

STUC Congress 2021 - COP 26 must be a focus to organise against climate crisis in solidarity with all working people

Steve Gray
With COP 26, the global summit on climate change coming to Glasgow in November, Congress recognised its key strategic importance in tackling the climate crisis.

It backed a wide ranging strategy to combat climate change and to recognise that the climate crisis is a crisis of social justice, with those who have done least to cause the crisis, and who are least able to address it, facing the worst impacts.

It supported Aberdeen Trades Union Council’s call to recognise the severity of the climate emergency and to join with other partners across the trade union movement and civil society, to support the COP26 Coalition for an international Just Transition and to campaign here in Scotland for a Climate Change Emergency Act to be brought into law by the Scottish Parliament.

In supporting the composite, ATUC delegate Steve Gray told Congress that Aberdeen Trade Union Council recognises that Climate Change and the COP26 negotiations are issues for all working people.   

“The Climate Emergency is a Health and Safety issue,” warned Steve. “Because of the accelerating Climate Change impacts, workers, their families and communities face increasingly hostile living and working conditions.”

Aberdeen Trades Union Council delegates in action at STUC Congress 2021

 Aberdeen Trades Union Council was represented at this year's STUC Annual Congress online by Sasha Brydon, Fiona Napier and Steve Gray.

They joined delegates from other trade unions and trade union councils at the STUC Congress held from 19-21 April 2021.

All three delegates spoke to ATUC motions and reports of their input will follow.

Steve Gray spoke on Composite M, Climate Change and COP 26 which included ATUC's motion.

Sasha Brydon moved ATUC's emergency motion on the Shrewsbury 24.

Fiona Napier moved the ATUC motion condemning attacks on human rights in Turkey.

Monday, 19 April 2021

ATUC stands united with the people of Myanmar and in solidarity with all those resisting the military coup

On 10th April, president Graeme Farquhar on behalf of Aberdeen Trades Union Council, emailed the Myanmar Embassy in London in solidarity with trades unions and other civil and human rights organisations and demanding an end to the coup and a return to democracy and respect for trade union, civil and human rights in Myanmar.

The full text of the letter is below.

H.E. Mr Kyaw Zwar Minn
Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
19A Charles Street
10 April 2021
By email.

Your Excellency,

Aberdeen Trades Union Council Opposition to the Coup in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Aberdeen Trades Union Council at its meeting on Wednesday 7 April agreed to raise our concerns with you as we are opposed to the military coup and the resulting death and injury of innocent civilians who were peacefully protesting to demand that democracy is restored.

In solidarity with the trade unions and other civil and human rights organisations in Myanmar we demand an end to the military coup and a return to democracy and respect for trade union, civil and human rights in Myanmar.

ATUC are appalled at the seizure of power by the military in Myanmar and to inform you that our organisation will do all we can to act in solidarity with and support those resisting the military to stop the coup succeeding.

We will also work with other national and international organisations in a campaign to secure the release of all those detained and bring an end to the violence and harassment of the trade unions and their members and other citizens in Myanmar.

We stand united with the people of Myanmar to ensure that the people’s vote is respected and that all those who have been democratically elected can form a legitimate government.

Yours sincerely,

Graeme Farquhar
Aberdeen Trades Union Council

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

North East Scotland election hustings 15 April 2021 at 7pm

 Aberdeen Trades Union Council and the Aberdeen Social Centre invite you to attend a  joint hustings on Thursday 15th April at 6.45pm for a 7pm start.

Come along and put questions to candidates from the different parties all hoping to be elected to represent you in the Scottish Parliament.

Zoom details:

Monday, 5 April 2021

Solidarity with RMT conductors striking for workplace justice

Aberdeen Trades Union Council stands in solidarity with our RMT comrades in Scotrail Abellio in their fight for workplace equality and justice over enhanced payments for rest day working.

On 4th April 2021, their second day of strike action, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said;

"Our Scotrail Conductor members are standing firm and united again this morning in a fight for fairness and equality for a group of essential workers who deserve better than the abuse and contempt that has been dished out to them by their employer.

"Abellio are determined to squeeze every last penny that they can out of the dying months of this franchise and if that means kicking staff in the teeth in the process they have shown that they are prepared to do just that.

"RMT thanks the public for their support for this campaign for basic workplace justice for Scotrail staff but it's now time for the political leadership in Scotland to get off the fence and demand that Abellio play fair by their front-line workforce on the basic issue of enhanced payments for rest day working.

"RMT remains available for serious and meaningful talks. "


Friday, 2 April 2021


ATUC is supporting this important event and will be joining our SSK, STUC and Trades Council comrades on the night to hear from Fayik Yagizay of HDP. Join us!

Wednesday 14th April at 7pm

To join the Zoom discussion register here 

The meeting will also be livestreamed on:

ATUC statement: Solidarity with Turkish and Kurdish sisters and brothers

Aberdeen Trades Union Council (ATUC) notes with concern the most recent attacks in Turkey on human rights protections and democratic processes. 

In recent weeks, the chief prosecutor of Turkey’s top court of appeal opened a case to close down the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), only hours after the Erdoğan-controlled parliament improperly expelled an HDP deputy. 

Then on March 19th, President Erdogan announced he was withdrawing Turkey from the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (known as the Istanbul Convention), describing it as contrary to ‘family values’. 

Aberdeen Trades Union Council condemns these recent events in the strongest possible terms. Human Rights Watch reports that ‘The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is dismantling human rights protections and democratic norms in Turkey on a scale unprecedented in the 18 years he has been in office’, and most governments around the world have so far failed to respond in any meaningful way. 

ATUC stands in solidarity with our Turkish and Kurdish sisters and brothers as they resist the actions of Erdoğan and his reactionary regime and we urge trade unionists everywhere to join us.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Deepest sympathy to the families and friends of those killed in 2009 Super Puma crash on twelfth anniversary

 Aberdeen Trades Union Council joins with Unite the union in sending our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of those killed in the Super Puma fatal accident off the NE coastline twelve years ago today.

Unite senior offshore catering steward, Issy Sutherland laid a wreath at the Johnston Gardens memorial in memory of the 14 passengers and two crew who lost their lives when their Super Puma helicopter plummeted from the sky in April 2009.

We will not forget.


Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Solidarity with EIS FELA striking to force colleges to RATIFY THE DEAL

#CollegesNeedLecturers ATUC sends support and solidarity to members of EIS Further Education Lecturers' Association (FELA) in their strike action in colleges across Scotland.

The action was called after Colleges Scotland failed to ratify an agreement negotiated with the union and agreed by the union.

The EIS-FELA twitter account states: "The facts of our dispute are clear. Negotiations ended when an agreement was made by both sides. EIS-FELA ratified that agreement. The Employers’ Association did not and then tasked Colleges Scotland to unpick the agreement that they themselves had made."

ATUC stands with the STUC and the whole of the trade union movement and calls on Colleges Scotland to ratify the deal now to avoid further disruption to the sector.

Unions can send messages of support to @EISFela on Twitter and to
👉 Follow their pages for solidarity alerts and announcements about upcoming events and what you can do to help:
and Twitter