Aberdeenshire UNISON

AGM 2014


AGM  says “We’re Worth it”

Members at AGM
Members listen to the debate

Members attending the 2014 AGM threw their weight behind actions to protect members in the workplace and to support their standards of living, at a time of cuts and change for the workforce in the council and the voluntary sector.

The AGM unanimously supported calls to campaign for affordable housing and for decent pay, alongside measures to monitor the effect of cuts and to press for fairer funding for local government. Members heard of the new threats to social workers and others working to protect children; and of the unreasonable expectations on some of our lowest paid staff to administer medications to children

Changes overriding issue

Inez Teece
Inez Teece

Members heard of the challenges which the Branch has faced over the past year, in which “Changes have been the overriding issue.”

Speaking to her annual report, Branch Secretary, Inez Teece, told the meeting “Changes are difficult for us at the best of times, but when that change is aimed at saving money, losing jobs, cutting pay and increasing workloads then change is something we quite rightly resist.”

She spoke of the highs and more frequent lows throughout the year. Of a new pension scheme that does look as if it will benefit most members, with improved accrual rates and based on a career average – to an imposed pay increase of 1% which is a pay cut of almost 16%.

Of the knock on effect on the voluntary sector where pay and conditions are being significantly squeezed.

Of a new Terms and Conditions package which will benefit many working 9-5 but which will disadvantage those working 24/7, many of them low paid women.

Of service reviews which create uncertainty and can feel to members that they are done to rather than with them.

“UNISON does fight for our members,” said Inez, “But we can’t do it alone. We need you, our members, to stand up and have your say”, calling on members to get involved and to encourage colleagues to join the union. “Now is the time to recruit a friend,” she urged.


We ARE worth it

AGM crowd
Members vote to support the motions

The AGM then supported a branch campaign to inform, engage and consult with members to build confidence to fight for a decent pay increase in 2015.

Inez told members, “When the 1000 richest people in Britain have increased their wealth by a staggering £190 billion, whilst workers in Scotland are on average £1753 worse off, it’s not rocket science. And giving our members a pay rise is not just good for them but is good for the economy as a whole.

“We ARE worth it. We need to get out there and convince our members of that. “

Click here to see motion in full

Exposing the impact of cuts

Steve Gray
Steve Gray

On a related theme, the AGM committed the branch to continuing its campaign to expose the impact of cuts on the workforce and to organise to protect members from excessive workloads and unacceptable working conditions.

Steve Gray, Assistant Branch Secretary and Branch Development Officer said, “Our own stress survey has shown increasing levels of stress at work. This leads to more sickness absence and that piles even more pressure on those left to provide the services.”

Steve also called for the branch to build wider alliances with community groups, the Trades Union Council and the People’s Assembly to fight the cuts.

Click here to see motion in full


You protect children, we'll protect you

Kate Ramsden
Kate Ramsden

The AGM gave overwhelming support to members working in child protection as it heard of the new threats to workers from contempt of court proceedings which have been brought against staff as individuals rather than as agents of the council. Members heard how UNISON has been in the front-line of support for these workers, both at branch and Scottish level, and it called on both to continue the work to support members and address the wider concerns.

Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden, said, “Our members have a legal duty to place the welfare of the child as paramount, yet where they have done this, they have become vulnerable to contempt of court proceedings.

“UNISON has stepped up to support members in this position and
we are urging all staff who may be vulnerable, to join UNISON for their own protection. These members protect children, UNISON will protect them.

UNISON Scotland has also raised this matter with Scottish ministers and will continue to press for a legislative review.”

Click here to see motion in full

Administering medications puts members at risk

Susan Kennedy
Susan Kennedy

In a wide ranging discussion with many contributions from the floor, members also supported branch action to address serious concerns about the administration of medications to children by Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs), who are amongst the lowest paid of our members.

Susan Kennedy, Assistant Branch Secretary, who is taking a lead on this issue, told the AGM that the branch has been challenging the council on this for the last 5 years.

“PSAs sometimes, against our advice, administer medications on a voluntary basis. We feel this puts those members at risk with no accountability for appropriate training, monitoring or support from the authority.

“UNISON has now forced the council to do a trawl on what is happening in schools with the administration of medications. This has shown very worrying results. I have never read anything as concerning when you see what staff, with minimal training, are being required to do.”

The branch will continue to negotiate on this matter with Aberdeenshire council but will also raise this matter at a Scottish and UK level.

Click here to see motion in full


Building council housing an investment not a luxury
Finally the AGM agreed that homes should be for people, not profit, and the Branch will campaign with UNISON Scotland and other like minded groups for a new generation of council house build across Scotland and the UK.

Steve Gray said, “The 1930s council house programme not only housed people, it provided jobs that helped the economy recover from the Great Depression, revitalised local communities, peoples’ sense of identity and offered hope to millions for a better healthier life.

“A new public sector led housing building programme is an investment in our future, not a luxury.”

Naida Sneddon
Naida Sneddon

Naida Sneddon, seconding the motion,  pointed out the stark fact that the UK Coalition Government has cut the affordable housing budget by 60% , meaning that more working people and their families now live in the private rented sector with higher rents at a time when wages have fallen way behind.

She added, “The average UK house price is now 8 times the average wage and key public sector workers can’t afford to buy homes in nearly 80% of towns. With house prices sky high in the affluent North East, the problem in even worse.

Naida highlighted the impact on young people in particular, and said that most had given up any hope of affording their own home or getting a council house, adding that almost 10,000 young people under 24 were homeless last year.

She called for a new council house building programme to become a political priority.

Click here to see motion in full

The Branch will now take all these motions to National Delegate Conference or the Local Government Service Group Conference.

Branch spends to support recruitment

Ann Gray
Ann Gray

The AGM approved the Branch accounts with a vote of thanks to the Treasurer, and also agreed an honorarium for the treasurer’s work throughout the year.

Ann Gray, Treasurer, said that the Branch’s expenditure had increased over the past year, in part to fund an Assistant Branch Secretary secondment, which has been of great value to the Branch and has supported the other Branch Officers, and partly to resource an ongoing recruitment campaign. “Members are the life blood of the union,” said Ann, “So this is a very necessary spend.”

There were no election needed for Branch Officer posts and the AGM approved the nominations for Branch Officers and stewards.

The AGM concluded with the draw for the Mini iPad, which was won by steward James Mulholland, Finance.

AGM crowd
Members at the AGM


IAGM Posternvitation to attend the 2014 Branch AGM

Come along and hear what the Branch is doing for members at this time of cuts and falling living standards


Click here for a poster Please print off and put up in your

All Branch members are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Aberdeenshire Branch of UNISON on 19th February 2014 from 7 – 8.30 p.m. at the Kintore Arms, Inverurie.  Click here for the Agenda.

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary said, "Whether we work for Aberdeenshire Council, a related employer or the voluntary sector, we have all had the challenge of change over the past year. 

"Terms and Conditions, Pay, Pensions and the impact of Service Reviews have been the major issues we have faced. 

"The key component for defending all these issues is membership participation, so we would urge you to attend the AGM and hear what UNISON is doing locally and nationally and be part of our decision making process."

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair added, "The AGM is your chance to have your say on the issues of the moment and gives you a chance to raise issues or discuss concerns with Branch Officers." 

"This year there is also a chance for one lucky member to win an iPad in the AGM raffle. All attending members will get a raffle ticket and the winning ticket will be pulled out of the hat at the end of the meeting.

"A buffet is available from 6.30 p.m. and members of the Branch Committee will be on hand to answer any questions or just to chat.

"We very much hope that you will come along and look forward to seeing you there."




Chairperson’s remarks



Appointment of Tellers/Minute Taker



(a)  Minute of AGM 2013

(b)  Matters arising

To be available at meeting


Annual Report

The Annual Report on the work of the branch.  Questions and discussion will follow.


To be available at meeting





Election of Branch Officers



Election of Branch Stewards






Treasurer’s Report and Presentation of Accounts

The accounts for the year ended 31 December 2012


To be available at meeting



  1. Protection of Social Work Members.
  2. We’re Worth It.
  3. Exposing Cuts and Workplace Stress.
  4. Administration of Medication.
  5. Campaign for Affordable Council House Building Programme.






Any other competent business
(This should be advised to chairperson before the start of the meeting)






Raffle Announcement



Close of meeting   - It is recommended the meeting should conclude no later than 8.30 p.m.





f you wish advance copies of the papers to be tabled at the meeting, please contact the Resource Centre on 01224 620624 or e-mail grampianresourcecentre@unison.co.uk    


Preliminary notice

AGMAll Branch members are invited to attend the 2014 Branch AGM.

Please note that the AGM will now be held on Wed 19th Feb to enable the meeting to consider Branch motions for the Local Government Service Group Conference and National Delegate Conference, in time to meet the deadlines for submission.

The AGM is the branch's supreme policy making forum. It will elect the Branch Officers and stewards for 2014, set policy on important issues affecting all members and can amend rules.

The preliminary notice was sent out on 28th November, to allow members time to consider and put forward nominations and motions and to meet deadlines for the agenda which will be sent out no later than Friday 31st Jan 2014.

But don't let the talk of motions and deadlines put you off. This is your chance to raise anything you would like the branch to be doing, provided that it is within UNISON rules. If you would like to raise an issue but don't know how to write a motion, get in touch with Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair. You can email her or contact her via the Branch Resource Centre on 01224 620624 and she will help you to find the right way to do it.

UNISON members in Aberdeenshire have faced difficult challenges over the past year with cuts to jobs, services and for some, cuts to terms and conditions; and a 1% pay rise which is a 13% cut in real terms.

As a branch, we are still trying to get the message across that austerity is not the way to deal with the economic problems and is in fact making matters worse. Inequality is increasing massively. In the past three years the 1000 richest people have increased their wealth by £155 billion. That's enough to pay the deficit and still have £30 billion left over. At the same time, 1.6 million children in the UK live in severe poverty. That can't be right.

Come to the AGM and find out more about how UNISON is campaigning to protect public services and members jobs, and get involved!

Branch officer and steward posts

Nominations are invited for stewards and branch officer posts. Any nominations should be on the forms below and should be returned to Inez Teece, Branch Secretary at UNISON Freepost (AB048), 7 Alford Place, Aberdeen AB10 1ZQ no later than Wed 23rd Jan 2013.

Click here for steward's nomination forms

Click here for branch officer's nomination forms

Description of branch officer roles

Motions and other business

Any member can submit a motion or let us know of any other business for consideration at the AGM. Motions need to be signed by two members and sent to Inez Teece, Branch Secretary at UNISON Freepost (AB048), 7 Alford Place, Aberdeen AB10 1ZQ no later than Wed 29th Jan 2014.

Click here to see last year's motions.





AGM 2014

AGM Home
Branch Rules Feb 2011
Deadlines for AGM 2014
Nominations for branch officer and steward posts, must be submitted on appropriate forms to the branch office by Wed 29th Jan 2014.

Motions for the AGM should be signed by two members and sent to the branch office by Wed 29th Jan 2014.

The AGM Agenda with the nominations, motions and any rule changes received by the closing date will be mailed out from Friday 31st Jan 2014.