Jan 162014
 

march2611picAberdeen Trades Union Council have expressed concerns at Police Scotland plans for Aberdeen HQ.

At its first meeting of 2014, delegates of Aberdeen Trades Union Council expressed grave concern at the lack of clarity regarding Police Scotland’s plans for Aberdeen.
Kevin Hutchens, an Executive Committee member and spokesperson for Aberdeen TUC stated:

“There is great concern that no public statement has been made confirming the future use of the Queen St offices of Police Scotland.

“It would be disastrous for many of our members who live and work in Aberdeen if these facilities are lost, especially on the back of the already announced Court Closures which are progressing at pace, with Stonehaven Court due to close at the end of May this year.

”We have particular concern for the many shopworkers, bus drivers and all other public sector workers who daily provide a service to the city.

“While call centres can provide a valuable service there is no real substitute for the face to face support a Police Officer at a community based public access front desk can provide.

“Needless to say it is also crucial that front line investigations of crime should also be pursued from the City Centre HQ.”

Kevin Hutchens went on to say:

“We are therefore calling on Police Scotland to confirm the long term future of the Aberdeen Queen Street HQ and all the services it provides there.”

For any further comment, Kevin Hutchens Unite delegate and ATUC Executive committee member can be contacted on 01569 763994 or 07948 555 066

Brian Carroll, Interim Secretary ATUC and PCS Union Branch Secretary can be contacted on 07826 890 342

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Jan 162014
 

Aberdeen Forward would like to invite you to our Swishing event on Friday 17th January 2014, between 6pm and 8pm, for an evening of clothes swapping, wine & nibbles.

colouredthreadspic

For those who don’t know, swishing involves clothes swapping in an informal setting around other like minded ‘swisher’s’.

All you have to do is bring in 1 or more items you own that you no longer want and you can take away someone else’s items instead!

Bring your unwanted clothes along any time on the day and then come down on the Friday at 6pm for the Swish itself.

From 6pm-7pm, there we will be time to browse what’s on offer, over a glass of complimentary wine and a nibble or two and then, at 7pm sharp, we will open the doors and allow you to pick the items you want to take home with you.

When deciding which of your items to bring in please remember the following:

  • All items should be high quality, do not bring damaged or dirty items.
  • Donated items should be clean and either unworn or just worn once or twice. You want to bring something others will want to take away, not throw away!
  • No Casual T-shirts, Vests, Earrings, Underwear or Swimwear will be accepted.
  • Unfortunately, if you don’t take anything home, we cannot return the items you donated yourself, so please be sure the things you bring are unwanted items.
  • The Swish is based on a fair use policy; although no token system is in place, it is accepted that items of a comparable cost, quality and condition are swapped fairly.

We hope to see you there on the 17th January and if you would like to attend, please RSVP by emailing us or calling us on 01224 560360. Entry is £5 and wine and nibbles will be available from 6pm together with various non-alcoholic refreshments.

Sep 182013
 

How does a Friday night of wine, nibbles and vintage clothes swapping sound to you? Why not avoid the hustle and bustle of a weekend shopping trip and come along to Aberdeen Forward’s famous swish where your unused clothes can be swapped with like-minded swishers in a relaxing and informal setting.

colouredthreadspicIf you want to grab a unique item or 2 whilst helping divert landfill, this Friday’s Swish is for you!

Starting at 6pm and finishing at 8pm this Friday, the event will provide you with a chance to clear out items you’ve never worn whilst getting a hold of some new pieces for your wardrobe.

When deciding which of your items to bring in please remember the following:

- All items should be high quality-please don’t bring damaged or dirty items.
– Donated items should be clean and either unworn or just worn once or twice. You want to bring something others will want to take away, not throw away!
– No Casual T-shirts, Vests, Earrings, Underwear or Swimwear will be accepted.

If you would like to come, please give us a quick call on 01224 560360, email cwe@aberdeenforward.org

The event is held at the Aberdeen Forward HQ, 2 Poynernook Road, AB11 5RW. Please arrive promptly for 6pm with your unwanted clothes at the ready!

Entry is £5 which includes a glass of fizz, nibbles and access to the Swish’. Non-alcoholic refreshments are also available including tea, coffee and juice.

Apr 222013
 

With thanks to Brian Carroll.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have called on Justice minister Kenny McAskill to reject the recommendations of the Scottish Court Service (SCS) to close courts across Scotland as part of a cost cutting exercise.

The union, which represents staff in the courts service, has been actively campaigning for the retention of access to justice in the communities affected across Scotland, including a substantial response to the SCS consultation and evidence submitted to the Scottish Parliament.

Lynn Henderson, PCS Scottish Secretary said:

“The Scottish Courts Service and the minister claim that no one will lose their job because of these closures but some staff stand to lose substantial sums of money if their court closes.  

“The Justice Secretary must ensure that the guarantee of no compulsory redundancy is met and that staff are not forced to give up their job if their court closes and their job is relocated.”

Brian Carroll, Secretary of the PCS Scottish Courts Branch said:

“The closure of 10 Sheriff Courts, the proposal to consolidate sheriff and jury trials and high court business will mean vast areas of the country will be left with no courts to deal with anything but minor criminal cases.  

“This will affect not only the accused, but also witnesses, jurors and victims of crime.  These proposals will also affect all those who wish to use the civil courts and who wish to apply for adoptions and commissary applications.

“We are extremely disappointed that Ministers appear to have accepted the recommendations made by the Scottish Courts Service without examining the full impact of the permanent removal of sheriff courts from communities across Scotland.  

“It will mean staff and users of the courts will have to travel substantial distances to attend and will reduce the access to justice for all users.”

Apr 122013
 

As more vital services continue to be closed or cut back, the Courts too are under pressure.  Brian Carroll of the PCS Scottish Courts Branch explains.

Brian Carroll, Branch Secretary of the PCS Scottish Courts Branch, expressed  extreme disappointment that the Scottish Courts Service is pressing ahead with its proposal to close courts across Scotland:-

“Despite the substantial opposition and number of negative responses to the consultation, proposals have survived almost totally intact.  We are sure that this decision will be greeted with dismay, not just by our members who will be affected, but also within the communities they serve.

“It is our opinion that these proposals are about fitting the delivery of justice into a reduced budget and nothing to do with modernisation or with the proposed justice reforms that are under consultation presently. The introduction of any reforms is not reliant on the closure of courts.”

Lynn Henderson PCS Scottish secretary said:-

“This is a bitter blow to our members in those courts threatened with closure as well as to the public, as yet another in a long line of public services suffers from the ravages of the cuts agenda.

“PCS will continue to work unstintingly to ensure that the interests of those members affected are protected. We will also campaign vigorously against these proposals on behalf of our members and to ensure proper access to justice for all the people of Scotland.”

Dec 272012
 

With thanks to Brian Carroll.

The Public and Commercial Services Union Scotland (PCS)  has expressed opposition to plans for closing local courts across Scotland.

The union which represents staff of the Scottish Courts Service outlined their opposition in its response to the SCS consultation on plans to close 11 sheriff courts across Scotland.

PCS welcomes the £10 million increase in spending on maintenance of courts announced in the Autumn Statement by the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance.

Brian Carroll, PCS Scottish Courts Service Branch Secretary said

“We have today submitted our response to the consultation on future court structures. PCS along with solicitors and other interest groups oppose the closure of 11 sheriff courts which seriously threatens the public access to justice, particularly in rural areas.”

Lynn Henderson, PCS Scottish Secretary said

“Following years of underspending many court buildings are in a sorry state. But this cannot be used as an excuse for closing courts. An extra £10 million investment can make a difference to the courts estate, but it does not address the £57 million backlog.  

“PCS seeks proper investment in vital public services and access to justice across Scotland.”

More about PCS.

The Public & Commercial Services Union represents over 280,000 members in the civil and public services and in the privatised commercial sector, over 30,000 of which are in Scotland. It is the 5th largest trade union affiliated to the TUC and STUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich – on Twitter @janicegodrich. The Scottish Secretary is Lynn Henderson.

If you require any further information please contact Joy Dunn, Parliamentary, Campaigns, Media and Research Officer contact mobile 07707 311 589 email joy@pcs..org.uk

Dec 032012
 

As part of Aberdeen City Arts Board’s Autumn Series, in conjunction with the Shared Planet Society, Mike Valance from Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Campaign talks about the Mexican Zapatista Movement at Belmont Cinema Café.

Mike Valance has spent time in the Chiapas region with the Zapatistas and has a detailed knowledge of the workings and history of the movement.

He will be selling a selection of goods produced by the Zapatistas after the event, the proceeds of which will help fund various projects in the autonomous Zapatista zones in Chiapas.

Background: On the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was due to be implemented in 1994, a guerrilla force calling itself the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (the EZLN, or ‘Zapatistas’), stormed five towns in Mexico’s Chiapas, taking the Mexican government by surprise. The Mexican army promptly deployed 15,000 troops in Chiapas to crush the uprising, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and the execution of dozens of Zapatista prisoners.

The influx of Mexican troops was matched, however, by an influx of journalists, political activists and human rights workers from all over Mexico. News of the rebellion, and of the living conditions of many of the indigenous people, swiftly filtered out via the media and solidarity demonstrations subsequently took place all over Mexico, North America and the world.

Mexico’s business and political elite was terrified of the effect of the uprising on their NAFTA trading partners, and within 12 days a ceasefire was called with negotiations due to start in early February 1994. Mike will explore those beginnings and discuss the progress the movement has made over the last 18 years.

For more Info on the Chiapas Solidarity Campaign and the Zapatista Movement please see: http://edinchiapas.org.uk/about_chiapas

The talk takes place on Sunday 09 December from 2pm at Belmont Cinema Café.

Jul 062012
 

By Bob Smith.

Bunkers noo are in the shit
Some fair div tak the mick
Is yer bunker a couthie chiel
Or jist anither greedy prick
.
Parliament nae langer kens fit’s fit
Tap bunkers noo rule the roost
Weel o coorse we aa div ken
Their bunk balances aa git a boost
.
Lots o siller as a bonus is gien
Ti cyards faa appruved the cheatin
Time ti kick them faar it hurts
Nivver myn their bliddy greetin
Time we hid mair local bunks
Faar ye tauk ti a human face
Nae aye hingin on the phone
Ti be telt yer in seventh place
.
Shut doon the stock exchange
Gie investors back their cash
Crooked traders in “the City”
Wid see their empires crash
.
Stop the swickin aa ower the lan
It’s time tae git aff oor hunkers
An tell the bobbies far ti pit
Thae bunch o bad, mad bunkers

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
Image Credit: HOLIDAY WITH MONEY© Andy Brown | Dreamstime.com

Apr 122012
 

With thanks to Cara de Pescado.

Earlier in the year the fascist Scottish National Front applied to march through Aberdeen on Hitler’s birthday (20th of April) but did not get permission from the Local authority.

They may still hold a static demonstration somewhere in the city centre to preach their politics of intolerance and hatred.

Their racist views must not go unchallenged. In response Aberdeen Trade Union Council together with Aberdeen Against Austerity and the Black Sheep Collective have organised ‘Hope Not Hate’ – Equality and Diversity Night.

The night will feature live acoustic music, stalls, poetry and a World Music club night afterwards til late.

Please come and join in the celebrations. We’ll make their chants of hatred inaudible above the music.

  • Friday 20th April
  • Aberdeen Trades Council Social Club, 13 Adelphi, Aberdeen
  • Doors 8pm
  • Admission free (donations will be accepted)
  • Music by Mark Ayling, Maze McPunklet and Los Rebeldes Acusticos and poetry by Tommy Campbell and Rapunzel Wizard.

 

Apr 062012
 

With thanks to  Kevin Hutchens.

Aberdeen TUC successfully mounted a co-ordinated campaign against the plans of the National Front (the NF) to march in Aberdeen on Hitler’s birthday, Friday 20th April.
The NF of course claimed it had nothing to do with the birthday of the Fascist Dictator and everything to do with the founding date of the SNP.

Surprisingly then, some would say, both the reports from Grampian Police and the Human Rights Impact Assessment carried out by the City Council argued that there might possibly be a link between the date and Hitler’s birthday: though both, in the interests of democracy, recognised the need to consider other options .

The Trade Union movement played a vital and crucial role in co-ordinating opposition via written representations, and also expressed its opposition via two media and press events. Not surprisingly, the NF did not help themselves when they accused the media of being “Zionist” because of the way they reported the proposed event .

On the day of the Aberdeen City Council Licensing Committee, 27th March 2012, a small but determined and committed group of activists from ATUC waited outside the Council Chambers. Much was made of this by the NF, but what they failed to realise and mention is that the activists which were present, though small in number, represented the interests of thousands of Trade Unionists from across the North East.

At the end of the day, Aberdeen City Council Licensing Committee refused (“Prohibited” in Council parlance) the application to march, on public order and public safety grounds. What had however been noticeable in the debate was the unwillingness of the NF to move on crucial issues including the planned time of the march, the starting point of the march and the route. Clearly the committee made the right decision on behalf of the City of Aberdeen.

Whatever the decision, it still remains an important role to expose the National Front for the way many of their supporters promote racism, Islamophobia and Holocaust denial.

“No Pasaran” is the call that comes to mind !

Kevin Hutchens
ATUC Delegate for Unite Local Government,  Aberdeenshire Branch.