Oct 242014

By Fin Hall.

Voted yesThe galvanisation of the people is only growing stronger, with groups like ‘The 45’, Women for Indy and The National Collective, working to achieve more powers, as promised by all WM leaders and has been, Gordon Brown.

Surely it is only a matter of time afterwards, that if the powers promised are granted, or if they are not, the populace will realise that we can either ‘manage quite well thank you’, or, if the latter prevails, ‘let’s ditch these liars.’

Meaning the indy situation will come round again.

Right, now I know these comparisons aren’t exactly equal, but the theory, I believe holds up.

When that fateful day in September came around, and over 80% of us trotted off to our local polling stations, to cast our vote, ( ok, I am aware that many had already put in a postal vote, but you know what I mean) we went in there with hope in our hearts and a smile of determination on our faces.

The country, as we know, was invigorated – young and old – many of us staying up all night as the results came in.

But as the night went on, it became apparent that us YES voters were in for a disappointment. A surprising disappointment.

Despite the polls, most people presumed that the independence vote was going our way.

Why else would Aberdeen council have erected double barriers around all the statues in the city centre? Actually why did they do that? Did they expect the victorious YES supporters to attack them in their celebrations with sledge hammers and pneumatic drills?

Not at all. They were just going to be sore losers and block people from perhaps climbing on them and draping them with saltire flags.

In the end it was an un-necessary waste of funds, as silent depression was the order of the day, not celebration.

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Oct 172014

By Bob Smith.

Div ye myn o Peter Craigmyle
A gweed referee in his day
Fa ained a tobacconist shoppie
Sellin bogie roll an Craven A
Div ye myn o the Majestic Cinema
Wi its usherettes fair smairt
Div ye myn o Woolies in Union Street
Wi its bonnie twins richt pert
Div ye myn o the Kit Kat Café
Nae far fae Holburn Junction
Div ye myn o Mitchell and Muil
Fa catered fer teas an luncheon
Div ye myn o J & A Ogilvie
An upholsterer maist posh
Their Union Street  shoppie
Welcomed fowk wi lots o dosh
Div ye myn Peglers on Union Street
Ye cwid buy fresh fruit richt fine
Jist efter the war, fer bananas
Ye hid  ti aa queue in line
Div ye myn o Claud Hamilton
As coachbiggers they stairtit oot
Div ye myn o Rossleigh’s showroom
A placie o richt gweed repute
Div ye myn o Burroughs an Watts
Ye cwid play snooker or ping pong
Div ye myn o the Playhoose cinema
Showin picters like King Kong
Div ye myn o Herd’s Corner Hoose Restaurant
Aboot half wye doon Bridge Street
Div ye myn o a lounge in Back Wynd
A think it wis ca’ed The Elite
Div ye myn o The Northern Assurance
Hame o the famed Monkey Hoose
Div ye myn o Bon-Accord lemonade
A favourite in nearly ivvery hoose
Div ye myn fin Union Street wis full
O shops o aa different kines
Div ye myn o fowk shoppin in George Street
Fin bike wheels got stuck in tram lines
Div ye myn  o  Union Street Setterday nichts
Or on Sundays nae dodgin fowk drunk
Nae fear o aggro fae loons an quines
Fa noo are drunk as a skunk
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2014
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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

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Nov 252013

With thanks to Aberdeen Women’s Alliance.

AWA Stall in Union Square3

Members of AWA at their stall in Union Square. L-R Sandra Macdonald, Dianne Drysdale, Norma Grant and Deidre Mitchell.

On Saturday, Aberdeen Women’s Alliance (AWA) marked the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by collecting donations for local charity, Rape and Abuse Support (RAS) in Union Square.

International Elimination of Violence Against Women Day is marked annually by AWA to raise awareness of the forms of violence that women locally and around the world are subject to.

By highlighting this particular day, AWA aim to draw attention to the scale and true nature of violence against women, most of which is hidden from public view.

Chair of AWA, Sandra Macdonald said:

“Recent figures from Police Scotland show that offences of domestic violence in Aberdeen have increased by 36 per cent and there has been a rise in reported sexual assaults. It is, therefore, vital that we all continue to raise awareness of violence against women and we were delighted that so many people took time out from their Christmas shopping to speak to us about these issues.

“Through the generous donations we received, we raised £189.90 which will support the excellent work that RAS do to inform the public of the nature and extent of sexual violence as well as broadening understanding of how appropriate responses can be developed to prevent it.”

RAS provides support and advocacy to female survivors of sexual violence, whether recent or historical, as well as challenging public attitudes towards rape through outreach work.

Oct 242013

UTG long - Credit: Mike ShepherdBy Bob Smith.

Widdie’s noo back,wi mair bliddy cack
The fifty million is back on the table
Bit only ye see, if wi him ye agree
Aat there’s only ae horse in the stable

John Halliday’s plan, seems nae aneuch gran
The gairdens they still wull be sunken
Is it his fear, aat fowk they drink beer
In the airches wi an attitude drunken?

The plans need transformin, afore the mannie is warmin
Tae ony ideas the chiel wid see fit
If it’s nae tae street livel, t’is the wark o the devil
Onything else Sir Ian sees as shit

The P&J it dis cry, compromise wi shud try
Nae chunce o ess cumin tae pass
Sir Ian his a goal, tae fill in the bowl
An smore the gairdens en masse

Widdie’s “olive brunch”, fin it cums tae the crunch
Is nithing the sort if ye think
An ultimatum mair like, an een wi shud spike
Tho the eyn gemme is noo at its brink

So fa’ll raise the bar, in ess oot an oot war?
Wull fifty million bi seen as a bribe?
An concrete wull flow, on the girss doon alow
On champagne Sir Ian wull imbibe

Can the gairdens survive, fowks hopes kept alive
Or micht it dee in a nest o vipers?
Wull siller win the day, in aa ess affray
Help’t oot bi some ither snipers?

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013

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May 112013

With thanks to Brian Carroll.

Following on from the action which Public and Commercial Services ( PCS ) members took on Budget day, 20 March 2013, and on Tax Return Day on 5 and 8 April 2013, PCS branches in the Scottish devolved sector will be taking part in a 3 day rolling programme of action from Monday 13 May until Wednesday 15 May.

The action will be taken as follows:-

Monday 13 May

Justice Sector (All day) Registers of Scotland (pm only)
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (all day)
Registers of Scotland (pm only)
Scottish Courts Service (all day)
Scottish Prison Service (all day)

Tuesday 14 May

Registers of Scotland (am only) Culture Sector branches (pm only)
Creative Scotland (pm only)
Historic Scotland (pm only)
National Galleries of Scotland (pm only)
National Library of Scotland (pm only)
National Museums of Scotland (pm only)
Registers of Scotland (am only)
VisitScotland (pm only)

Wednesday 15 May

Culture Sector Branches (am only)
Scottish Government, Scottish Parliament and related public bodies (all day)
Architecture and Design Scotland – all day
Audit Scotland – all day
Creative Scotland – (am only)
Highlands and Islands Airports – all day
Highlands and Islands Enterprise – all day
Historic Scotland – (am only)
National Galleries of Scotland (am only)
National Library of Scotland (am only)
National Museums of Scotland (am only)
Risk Management Authority – all day
Scotland’s Commission for Children and Young People – all day
Scottish Enterprise – all day
Scottish Government – all day
Scottish Natural Heritage – all day
Scottish Parliament – all day
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman – all day
Skills Development Scotland – all day
Sportscotland – all day
Visit Scotland – (am only)

This covers a multitude of workplaces over different days. This Branch, Scottish Courts Branch, is part of the Justice Sector and will be taking action All Day Monday 13 May 2013 and Picket Lines will be in place in all major court locations from around 7am to 10am and members will be taking action in all courts.

This is action to defend our Pay, our Pensions, our T&C’s, jobs and services.

We are requesting that the Government enter into National Negotiation around these issues and for a fair settlement to be arrived at.

The Government Refuses to talk, so we are walking !

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

Oct 262012

Trade union and community organisation members from the North-East join a demonstration against austerity.  With thanks to Brian Carroll, Chair/ President of Aberdeen Trades Union Council

Over 10,000 demonstrators gathered in George Square in Glasgow, from 10 o’clock onwards last Saturday morning to send out a message to the Government –

“ Stop what you’re doing or the economy will implode!
“Stop messing with our pay, pensions, terms and conditions!
“Invest in the future of our country and start investing for jobs, services, protecting those most in need – the youth of today!”

That is what is needed for a fair, just, equal, modern and diverse society and that is what Government should be delivering on.

This was a day which saw the people of Britain join people in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and France in saying ‘NO’ to austerity.

The demonstrators then marched through the centre of Glasgowto a Rally on Glasgow Green where speaker after speaker gave the message –

“Give us Investment NOT austerity!  Austerity isn’t working!”

All major Unions, community organisations, activists and the general public were represented on the march, as was “Youth Fight for Jobs”, intrepid youngsters who had marched to Glasgow from Stirling

Aberdeen and the North East were well represented with union members from all the major trade unions as well as community organisations and local activists who travelled to Glasgow to be part of this event

It was a great day with PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) Scottish Secretary, Lynn Henderson stating at the rally, to huge cheers and applause from the crowd:

“Let’s start the fightback, right here right now.  

“Come together, stand together, fight together and together we will win!”