Date: 22 April 2008
Equality Award win for UNISON activists
This morning (22nd April), First Minister Alex Salmond presented
this year's STUC One Workplace Equality Award 2008 to Marion Stewart,
Branch Secretary and Elaine North, Support for Learning Assistant
at Maxwellton High School in Dumfries and steward for UNISON Dumfries
and Galloway Local Authority Branch at the STUC Annual Congress
The award recognises the role of Scottish trade union members in
challenging discriminatory practices and attitudes in the workplace
Both award winners led the successful Classroom Assistants campaign
last year that saw a planned proposal to cut up to 70 Classroom
Assistant posts withdrawn by Education officials.
The campaign culminated with a 6000 signature petition being given
to the Council and over 2000 postcards opposing any cuts being sent
directly to elected members.
UNISON in Dumfries and Galloway have also lodged over 300 equal
pay claims on behalf of Classroom Assistant members and the award
recognises Marion's & Elaine's successful work with their Branch
and nationally to eradicate the historical gender pay inequalities
and promote equality of opportunity for all workers.
Matt Smith UNISON's Scottish Secretary said today: "Elaine and
Marion have congratulations from everyone in UNISON for their excellent
organising work that has not only won this award, but shown how
important the union's work on equal pay is, both to deliver for
low-paid women workers, and to deliver fair pay structures in the
Grahame Smith STUC Gen Secretary commented: "It is entirely appropriate
that the award this year goes to a group of low-paid women workers
who stood up for fairer treatment, with the support of their union.
They deserve all our congratulations in showing that to stand up
for fair treatment can deliver results.”
The STUC One Workplace Equality Award highlights the work of the
STUC's ground breaking One Workplace Equal Rights Project which
has, since its launch in 2004, supported trade unions in Scotland
in promoting equal opportunities issues in the workplace by offering
support, targeted training and advice to trade unions, employers
and employees on rights at work and on promoting and bargaining
for inclusive work practices.
Dumfries & Galloway UNISON spokesperson, Alan Bradley said: "UNISON
representatives locally and nationally have a key role to play in
solving problems for workers everyday from the smallest grievance
to major strategic issues. Tackling inequality and discrimination
by supporting their fellow members who are being discriminated against
is just one part of this. The Branch is delighted that Marion &
Elaine's tireless work in leading the campaign last year has been
Marion says, "After so many years as an activist to be recognised
for my efforts in this way is just amazing. I feel that this award
is in recognition of all the effort put in by my Branch colleagues
and members in promoting Equality in our Council and to the thousands
in Dumfries & Galloway who supported the Classroom Assistants campaign”.
Elaine says, "I am delighted and very honoured to have received
this award and this recognition will only help to promote UNISON's
fight for fairness and equality in the workplace.”
Notes for editors: UNISON have jpeg's of Marion & Elaine
- please contact Graham Abrines if you wish one to be sent to you.
We also have pics of the award ceremony. Contact Chris Bartter
For more information contact UNISON - Alan Bradley, 01387
257393 Graham Abrines, 07841 968441 Chris Bartter (Communications
Officer) 0771 558 3729(m) STUC - Zaffir Hakim, Development Manager