Thursday 16 December 2021

North East joins Scotland-wide campaign to bring buses back into public ownership


Pressure for public control and public ownership of buses grows as new campaigns launched in the Glasgow city region, Tayside and the North-East


Scotland’s campaign for better buses continues to grow today as anti-poverty groups, environmentalists and trade unions join forces to launch new regional campaigns for better buses in three of Scotland’s biggest city regions.

Today three ‘Take Back Our Buses’ campaign videos are released, outlining the case for change in the Glasgow city region, Tayside and the North-East, and starting to build the pressure on all political parties in the run-up to the local election next year.

 Prior to the pandemic bus passenger journeys in Tayside and the North East fell by a quarter in the last five years, while in the South West and Strathclyde they fell by 12%. However, in Edinburgh and the Lothians where buses are council-owned, bus passenger use has bucked the downward trend.

The three regional ‘Take Back Our Buses’ campaigns call on local politicians in all parties to commit to using the new powers in the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 – for public control and public ownership of bus services – in their manifestos for local elections next May.  

This follows Greater Manchester’s decision earlier this year to become the first UK city region to commit to re-regulating its bus network since 1986, as the only way to deliver a fully-integrated and affordable public transport network which serves all the region’s communities.

The campaign is supported by unions such as Unite the Union who represent bus workers, as well as by Trades Councils across Scotland, the Poverty Alliance, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Engender, Common Weal, Get Glasgow Moving, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, One Parent Families Scotland, the Young Women’s Movement and the Scottish Pensioners Forum. 

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) is running the ‘Our Climate Our Buses’ campaign as a key driver of its wider campaign for a Just Transition.


Monday 29 November 2021

Solidarity with our Palestinian brothers and sisters on UN International Day of Solidarity

Today - 29th November - is the UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  ATUC welcomes the Palestinian flag being flown from the Townhouse today to mark this important date, and sends solidarity to all our Palestinian brothers and sisters.

Messages from Palestine at ATUC anti-racism/ anti-fascism event

On Saturday 27th November we came together for our annual St Andrew’s Day ‘Anti-racism/ Anti-fascism’ event, this year held online again due to Covid precautions. Unfortunately, our two speakers invited to speak on Palestine were unable to join due to technical problems so we are posting the information they planned to share with us here. 

Jamal Juma: Plant a Tree in Palestine

Jamal Juma, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall), and coordinator of the Land Defense Coalition had planned to join us to speak about the ongoing grassroots Plant a Tree in Palestine campaign.  Today, Palestinians are resisting an escalation of Israel’s land theft, settler violence and relentless destruction of Palestinian agriculture and way of life. The Plant a Tree in Palestine, a joint project of Stop the JNF and Stop the Wall, is a powerful tool of Palestinian resistance and serves three key functions:

  • Building Solidarity: Planting trees within affected communities conveys a strong sense of international solidarity, of people not being alone and forgotten, building Palestinian sumud.
  • Reclaiming the Land: Farmers being supported to plant trees counters the Israeli drive to detach people from their land.
  • Benefiting the Environment: The trees planted are natural to the region, unlike many JNF trees, alien to the land. The trees planted as part of the project benefit the environment and have deep cultural and historic significance.

ATUC are actively supporting the Plant a Tree campaign and are supporting SPSC Aberdeen in awareness-raising and building support for the campaign in the North East. If you would like to find out more, or your branch would like to get involved please email

Sunday 21 November 2021

St Andrew's Day Online Rally - Join us on 27th November at 12 noon

Please join us on Saturday 27th November 2021 for our annual St Andrew's Day rally against racism and fascism, being held online once again this year.

The event will take place from 12 noon until 1.15pm. You can join us from our Facebook event by clicking HERE

It will be chaired by ATUC Executive member, Fiona Napier and will hear from trade unionists from local branches as well as speakers from further afield, representing Aberdeen Trades Union Council's commitment to international solidarity in the fight against racism and fascism. We will also have some music and poetry in the mix so it promises to be a lively and interesting event.

ATUC president, Graeme Farquhar, who will be opening the event said: "Aberdeen and the North East of Scotland has a proud history of opposing racism and fascism and of international solidarity.

"We are proud to see this tradition  continue as we welcome refugees and asylum seekers from Syria and Afghanistan as well as migrants from many other countries and other parts of Scotland and the UK.

"But we must be constantly vigilant as we see attempts including by this UK Tory government, to demonise migrants and asylum seekers and to sow division. 

"Like the STUC event, our rally today will underline our commitment to root out racism and fascism in all its forms and to send the message loud and clear. Refugees are welcome here."

Tuesday 2 November 2021

UPDATE on buses travelling to Glasow from Aberdeen for COP26 rally on 6th Nov

Glasgow COP26 Climate Justice March and Rally joined by Aberdeen Trade Union Council affiliated unions members & North East Scotland Just Transition Campaigners.

Many thanks to everyone who has emailed the ATUC registering for a place on the coach to Glasgow funded by UNISON Aberdeenshire. Your emails are being replied to. If you have any further queries email;

Our bus is now full and we cannot accept any more bookings. However, Friends of the Earth Scotland are also running a bus which is already full and are considering putting on a second bus - if you would like to reserve a place, register on the following Eventbrite site by Wednesday 6pm at the latest;


Stewards needed! Please consider contacting the COP 26 Coalition directly if you can offer your help as a steward for the march and rally at

Hope to see you there! 



  • Please bring trade union flags/banners
  • Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring food and water
  • Wear a mask if possible.
  • Please remain socially distanced.
  • Please get vaccinated or take a Covid test before attending.

Thursday 21 October 2021

Come along to SPSC's online event and find out how you can support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

ATUC is supporting a series of events organised by Scottish Palestine Solidaroty Campaign (SPSC) Aberdeen, focused on Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS). 

We are urging all our delegates, associates, family and friends to get along to the first event on Zoom on Thursday 27th October 2021 from 6.30-8pm. 

You can find out more by clicking HERE And you can register on Eventbrite HERE

The series will explore the divestment campaign against Caterpillar (via HSBC) and Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes, IHRA (Right to BDS), Puma and sport apartheid.

The first event is the re-launch of our divestment campaign against Caterpillar (via HSBC) and Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes.

Sunday 17 October 2021

COP26 - Bus to Glasgow rally, Sat 6th Nov

 On Saturday November 6th ATUC and UNISON Aberdeenshire will be providing bus transport for trade unionists and other local activists to join the COP 26 rally in Glasgow from 11am to 4.30 pm. 

The bus will leave from  Inverurie market place at 7am and will pick up along the way, including Albyn Place Aberdeen at 7.30am. Buses will return the same day, aiming to be back for 9pm.

For more information and to book a place on the bus please email by 5pm on Friday 22nd October

Find out more about the demo and the bloc participating here.

Pre COP 26 Protest Rally in Aberdeen

On Saturday 23rd October, a coalition of local groups and organisations are planning a pre-COP 26 protest rally from 11.45 am to 2.30pm pm in Marischal Square with a host of speakers, musical entertainment and food by Food not Bombs. Read more HERE

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.