Sunday, 15 May 2022

Workers march for peace and prosperity at excellent May Day event


The ATUC March and rally in Aberdeen on 7th May, celebrating international workers’ day or May Day was our first in person event since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Led by the rousing tunes of a pipe band, the marchers from trade unions, political parties and activists' groups made a colourful display with our flags, placards and banners, to the enjoyment of passers-by many of whom stopped to watch.
The Guarana Drummers with their exciting rhythms brought up the rear.
Chairing the rally at the Castlegate, ATUC President, Graeme Farquhar told those gathered that May Day is normally a day of celebration for all workers, but this year with the cost of living crisis we do not have much to celebrate.

Graeme Farquhar

This conservative government have inflicted poverty upon four million children and through criminal neglect. During Covid they have caused the deaths of over 20 000 older people by sending them back to care homes without a test.

"This is a party who have normalised poverty while enriching themselves at the expense of the working man, woman and their families," slammed Graeme.
"In just 12 years they have taken us back decades. They awarded themselves a £2000 pay rise and if it is good enough for them then it, is  good enough for every worker in the UK.

"But maybe instead of giving them the 2000 maybe we should stand at our doors on a Thursday night at 8 and clap for them," said Graeme to much applause.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

STUC recognises Ron Webster's lifetime of trade union activism

Ron receives his award from Pat Rafferty

 Aberdeen Trades Union Council is delighted to report that during the STUC Congress in Aberdeen, ATUC consultative member and long-standing union member and delegate, Ron Webster, was awarded a certificate in recognition of a lifetime of trade union activism, amounting to 80 years as a trade union member of different unions.

The certificate was awarded by Pat Rafferty, Unite Scottish Regional Secretary and STUC president.   STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer was also on hand to congratulate Ron, as was his firnd and comrade, Tommy Campbell..

The ATUC would like to congratulate Ron on this wonderful achievement. We are delighted that it has been recognised by Ron's union, Unite and by the STUC.

Ron himself is a past president of the STUC as well as holding the post of ATUC secretary. Ron was an active member of ATUC up until very recently and is well known and held in high regard by many of the delegates.

Friday, 29 April 2022

International Workers' Memorial Day service demands workplace health and safety as a fundamental right


Aberdeen Trades Union Council hosted a moving and well attended International Workers' Memorial Day service on 28th April in the beautiful Persley Memorial Gardens. 

The event was made particularly poignant after two years of COVID, when so many workers have lost their lives or been made ill as they continue to deliver vital services to our communities.

Welcoming representatives from many different unions as well as from Aberdeen City Council and political figures, ATUC President, Graeme Farquhar said that this years theme is make safe and healthy work a fundamental right.

"Every year there are more people killed at work than in wars. 

"People don’t die at work in tragic accidents, they die because their employer decided that their safety was not as important than making a profit," slammed Graeme.

Join our May Day March and Rally on Saturday 7th May and call for peace and prosperity for all






Gather at Rubislaw Terrace (just off Albyn Place) from 11.00am

March leaves at 11.30am for a Rally in the Castlegate at 12.00 noon

 All welcome,  bring your banners & placards. There will be a  pipe band, drummers , songs, speeches and poetry.


Saturday, 23 April 2022

Join us to "Remember the dead, fight for the living"

Aberdeen Trades Union Council's annual International Workers' Memorial Service will be held on Thursday 28th April in the beautiful 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. 

Graeme Farquhar, ATUC President said: "Sadly the numbers of workers dying at their work, or being injured or made ill are still far too high.

"No one should go to their work and not come home. At our annual service we remember all those who did not come home and we renew our pledge to fight for more robust health and safety regulation and inspection to protect the living."

See below for all the events taking place to commemorate International Workers' Memorial 

Friday, 1 April 2022

ATUC joins unveiling of commemorative stone to recognise role of key workers during Covid

 Aberdeen Trades Union Council took part in a ceremony as Aberdeen City Council unveiled a commemorative stone in recognition of the role of key workers throughout the pandemic.

The stone will be a reminder to future generations of the hard work and sacrifices made by all in the battle against Covid-19.

The ceremony took place on Sunday 27th March in the Kirk of St Nicholas churchyard, and followed a Covid-19 thanksgiving service to key workers. 

There was a gathering at the Town House afterwards, where a video premier of a piece of music specially composed by the award winning composer Paul Mealor, Professor of Composition at the University of Aberdeen, was shown. 

The composition and accompanying video gave thanks on behalf of the city to all those who had made sacrifices during the Covid-19 Pandemic and also featured key workers.

ATUC President, Graeme Farquar spoke on behalf of Aberdeen Trades Union Council. He thanked the Lord Provost and Aberdeen City Council for the three events. 

"It was an honour and a privilege to assist in the unveiling of the stone. The stone will now be a legacy for future generations to visit and reflect on," said Graeme.

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Second Aberdeen protest against crippling cost of living rises at 1pm on Saturday 5 March outside Mariscal College

Aberdeen Trades Union Council is urging its delegates, affiliates and the the citizens of North East Scotland to join their second protest against spiralling cost of living rises.
It will be held this  Saturday 5th March at 1pm outside Marischal College, Aberdeen.

Click here for the Facebook event

This will be one of many protests being held across the country, as rising costs of food, fuel and other necessities already begin to bite, with local food banks experiencing significant increases in demand.

Tommy Campbell, ATUC retired union member delegate and protest organiser said: “ Yet again it is ordinary working people paying
the price, whilst the energy companies make massive profits for their rich  shareholders. Once again it is the low paid and the poorest in our communities, older people and those with disabilities, that will be hardest hit" 

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Come and join the peace and solidarity protest in Aberdeen on Sunday 6th March at 4pm

 CND NE Scotland and Aberdeen Social Centre are co-hosting a peace and solidarity protest on Sunday 6th March at 4pm in Broad Street, Aberdeen.

All ATUC delegates and affiliates, friends and families are urged to come along to show solidarity with victims of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and to call for peace in Ukraine.
Find out more at the Facebook event

Scottish CND unequivocally condemns Russia's military actions in Ukraine and the threat to use nuclear weapons. 
The international community must stand united in ensuring that we protect and support civilians, and Scotland must strongly reject the violations of international law by Russia and the disregard for Ukraine's sovereignty as an independent state. 
For the UK to apply the use of force, individually or through NATO, would escalate conflict and increase the likelihood of nuclear misadventure through weapons use or involving the 15 nuclear power stations in Ukraine. We urge respect for international humanitarian and human rights law and accession, and compliance with international treaties to reduce nuclear weapons risks, including the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. 
Nuclear weapons do not deter conflict but make the world more dangerous, elevating the risk of a massive humanitarian catastrophe. We ask people in Scotland to help find ways of providing humanitarian support to the people of Ukraine and of enhancing dialogue with people in the Ukraine and Russia.

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Morning Star Scottish Readers and Supporters Conference 6 March 11am - It has never been more important to support the people's paper

The Aberdeen Trades Union Council is urging all our delegates and affiliates to attend the Morning Star Scottish Readers and Supporters conference taking place online on Sunday 6 March at 11am.

It has never been more important to support the Morning Star, the newspaper of trade unions and the left.

This is a practical conference for all supporters  of  the Morning Star to discuss how to improve the paper's impact, extend readership and build its finances in Scotland.

The Conference will be hels on zoom and will last a little over two hours. It will be chaired bu UNISON NEC member and ATUC ex-president, Kate Ramsden and will hear from Unite's Steve Dillon, a previous member of ATUC.

Click on the Zoom link to join

Kate said, "At a time when workers are under attack from poor wages, insecure work and the cost of living crisis; at a time when the poorest face stark choices between eating and heating whils the richest continue to amass more wealth; it has never been more important to back the newspaper of the workers, the Morning Star. 

"As the Star says, "You can’t buy a revolution, but you can support the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one."

"Please come along and give us your ideas and find out what you can do to increase circulation in Scotland."

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Maggie Cooper speaking at the Cost of Living Crisis protest slams child poverty as "unacceptable" and demands oil and gas companies repay "obscene profits"

Maggie Cooper
Maggie Cooper, retired social worker speaking at the Cost of Living Crisis protest about the impact of poverty on people’s lives, and demanding that the oil and gas giants pay for this crisis, not ordinary people. Time to reverse Thatcher’s attacks on working folk.   

We’ve gathered today to express concern about the current economic crisis . Apparently ‘ we’re all in this together’. Aye right!      

While I believe inflation is currently running at an all-time high this is effecting poorer people disproportionately.

Food and fuel account for a greater proportion of poorer people’s income. Most supermarket budget brand staple foods have risen by a higher percentage of original cost. Fuel supplied by card meter costs significantly more.

There has been a dramatic increase in food bank usage , where incidentally not all beneficiaries are unemployed. The so called ‘gig economy’ with zero hours contracts resulting in insecure earnings means workers can’t rely on a fixed income. Debts spiral while awaiting payment of benefit. 

While company bosses and shareholders net huge profits and misuse furlough schemes … many having paid staff off during the pandemic. By the way  if you’re going for a drink after this please give Archie’s a body swerve!

We are swiftly returning to an era when workers were without rights at the mercy of unscrupulous employers. Don’t let this happen to you . Join a union!    

Thursday, 24 February 2022

We need an economy that acts for all of us, not a privileged clique, demands ATUC's Doug Haywood

Doug Haywood
Doug Haywood spoke at the Cost of Living Crisis Protest on 12th February on behalf of Aberdeen Trade Union Council. He gave a passionate speech, urging people to "Use your rage. Together we are powerful."

"Hello everybody, thanks for coming on such a cold Saturday afternoon.

We’re here again.

It’s a, grim, grinding pattern. Prices rise, rents rise, bills rise. Wages stay the same, or hours are cut, often to the insidious zero hour’s contract.

People are forced to choose between heating and eating. Between shoes for the bairn or decent food on their plate.  In one of the richest countries in the world.

And let’s not forget those new to Aberdeen, refugees fleeing persecution, terror and war, now housed with a corporate landlord (on Crown Street), patronised with £7 a week pocket money. With no shoes, and barely adequate clothing for an Aberdeen winter.

Meanwhile, the privileged blithely expand their exploitation.

The consequence-free corporate pleasure-cruise carries on. To take just one example, BP recently reported its highest profits since 2013. A $12.8bn windfall annual profit. $12.8bn. That is simply obscene.

Monday, 21 February 2022

"Trickle down capitalism isn't working. It's time for a change" Ross Cassie addresses the protest

Ross Cassie
Here, Ross Cassie, SNP councillor and ATUC Consultative member addresses the Cost Of LIving protest.

"This cost-of-living crisis has been in the making for more than a decade now. This is the year it hits.

We must also not forget that the route to this goes back even further. Scotland has not voted for a Tory Government since 1955. That’s 6 years before I was born. All of us are paying for their repugnant policies now.  Well almost all, more of which later.

2010 brought us the Tory Lib Dem coalition and a decade of austerity. Add to that the effects of a hard Brexit brought about by the far-right ideologists that now run the tory party.

Food prices are increasing, and the boss of Tesco’s says we have not seen the worst of it yet.

Ofgem have just announced the price cap on our household energy will increase by 54%. That’s almost £700 per year. No one can absorb that hike in prices given that inflation is running at over 5% and pay awards are generally below that. In effect pay cuts.

There will be further fuel bill rises announced in October on top of what you are being expected to pay from April.

So what has the UK Government offered to help with these fuel bill rises?They offer us a loan. £200 woopy do the cost went up £700. Next year you start to pay back that loan at £40 per year. 

"Cost of living crisis affects everyone but those who are hard up suffer most." Protest speech by Simon Watson

Simon Watson
Here is Simon Watson's inspiring speech for the Cost of Living Crisis protest on 12 Feb 2022

"Hi, I’m Simon Watson, Regional Organiser for UNISON 


It’s great to see you’ve turned out at short notice in the changeable Aberdeen weather to make a statement about this huge issue for union members, and working people generally.  This is the only the start of what needs to be done. 


We’ve been through two years of a pandemic which has demonstrated that the real critical workers in our society are the cleaners, the carers, the health, schools, and other public service workers. 


They have put themselves, their health and the health of their families on the line to keep us all going.  But now fuel bills are rocketing £700 a year, National Insurance going up by 10%, Inflation hitting 7% - and real inflation for those on lower incomes is much more than that. 


Even the punitive social security system benefits are being cut in real terms, and that’s without the £20 being removed from Universal credit.  Let’s not forget that most households claiming benefits have people who are working. 


The distant memory of Boris Johnson asking people to clap for our carers now seems like very cold comfort. 

Cost of Living protest in Aberdeen on 12th Feb 2022 - the first of many

 ATUC's protest on the spiralling cost of living attracted around 50 people, angry at the soarings costs of food, fuel and other basics and the impact that will have on all of us but especially low paid workers and thos on benefits.

We had some excellent speakers and will post their speeches on this blog.

The event was chaired by ATUC member and previous president, Kate Ramsden. Welcoming participants to the event, on such a cold, wet afternoon, Kate spoke of the importance of coming together to give a clear message that ordinary workers must not be left paying the price of  the cost of living crisis in the fifth richest country in the world. 

"There is no less money that there always was," slammed Kate. "It's just in the wrong hands." 

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Please join our cost of living protest in Marischal Square, Aberdeen at 12.30pm on Saturday 12 Feb

 Aberdeen Trades Union Council has organised an Aberdeen protest on Saturday 12th Feb at 12.30pm  against the cost of living rises that will cripple already beleaguered working people and our most vulnerable citizens.

This is one of a large number of protests taking place around the UK against soaring hikes in the cost of gas, electricity and food. 

Graeme Farquhar, ATUC President said: "We are urging all ATUC delegates and affiliates and citizens of the North East to come together and give a clear message that these cost of living rises are totally unacceptable.

"Once again these rises will hit the poorest in our society and with below inflation pay increases, working people will find themselves less and less able to cope. Poverty will rise and families will be forced to choose between eating and heating. In the north of Scotland that is a really stark choice," slammed Graeme.

"The measures proposed by the Tory government will do nothing to mitigate the impact of these cost of living rises on ordinary people. Despite massive profits by the energy companies, calls for a windfall tax have fallen on deaf ears."

Energy regulator Ofgem has announced a dramatic rise in the energy price cap by 54% to £1,971 a year from this April in the UK - meaning that energy companies can now charge households across the UK around £2,000 a year for their gas and electricity use.

Other protests in Scotland have been organised by the People's Assembly along with DPAC and Fuel Poverty Action. ATUC is proud to stand alongside them at our Aberdeen protest and shares their condemnation of increased costs at a time when the gap between rich and poor is widening exponentially. 

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Tuesday, 1 February 2022

ATUC Affiliations and Annual Reports Due!

 ▶ ATUC Trade Union Affiliations


Well that wasn’t the year we expected but with your support, the ATUC continued its work throughout 2021, and we very much hope your trade union will support us again by affiliating for 202

We can only exist because trade union branches support us, and whether your branch has been a long time affiliate, or you wish to join us for the first time this year, we’d be very happy for your support.

Affiliating/Renewing is simple and easy to do online – just click the link and complete the form. We will then send an invoice to the branch contact you nominate.

If your branch already affiliates, but you know of other branches or unions who don’t then please send this email on to them – spread the word!

▶ Book your Annual Report Adverts!

It's that time of year again, and the ATUC are looking for organisations to help sponsor our 2021 annual report, to be published in the new year, by taking out adverts to be included in the publication. 

Organisations taking adverts in this way allow us to produce the well-respected Annual Report each year which is distributed to trade union and other organisations, as well as being made available at the annual STUC conference. It's a great way to get your branch or organisation noticed, as well as helping us to cover the costs of producing the report.

Annual Report advert costs are as follows (please note we are now basing advert costs on page size, as all are now available in colour due to the new printing process we use):
Full-page - £200.00
Half-page - £100.00
Quarter-page - £50.00

To make it even easier you can now submit your annual report advert request online, including uploading your copy ready artwork/poster. We'll then invoice you for the selected amount. If you don’t have your artwork ready yet, you can still book and then send the artwork in later.

To book your advert please ensure you complete our online form as that allows us to track invoices appropriately!

To book your advert in the annual report just complete our online form.

▶ Send us your Annual Report Articles!

We would like to encourage all our affiliates and associate organisations to provide a report on your work over this year, and the impact of the Covid pandemic on your members and your communities. We usually ask for an A4 page of type in Arial 12pt but we would be happy with just a couple of paragraphs on your branch's/organisations' experience to ensure we can include as many affiliates as possible in this Annual Report.

Articles can be submitted to and we would be grateful to receive them as soon as possible, and no later than 31st January 2022.