Thursday, 6 October 2016

National Work Life Week Scotland Conference 2016

The STUC Women’s Committee has campaigned for years for family friendly workplaces. We all know the crucial role carers in Scotland play in the labour force. The majority of these carers are women so it’s a subject that is very dear to the hearts of the women we represent.

Despite the legislation there are still very few employers embracing the principle of family friendly working. Too many simply pay lip service to it whilst actively discouraging flexible working requests and providing a variety of spurious reasons to decline them.

This affects our performance in the workplace, the opportunities available to us for promotion, our health and wellbeing and most of all our family life. That’s why it’s one of the many topics we’ll be debating at the STUC Women’s Conference in Perth at the end of October.

We are therefore delighted to be working with Family Friendly Working Scotland (FFWS) on tackling the many barriers women in particular face in the pursuit of a work-life balance.

Family Friendly Working Scotland was set up in 2014 with funding and support from the Scottish Government. As part of National Work Life Week, FFWS are holding a conference in Glasgow on Thursday 6 October which the STUC Women’s Committee fully supports. I will be attending with a colleague from the Women’s Committee, Joyce Stephenson from CWU.

The event is an opportunity to discuss the many different aspects of family friendly working and the benefits they bring. It also covers practical ideas for employers to take this forward in their organisations, how the different policies work in practice and how FFWS can help support employers to make Scotland a family friendly place to work.

The STUC Women’s Committee and FFWS aim to follow this up with a joint event which looks at flexible working approaches for non-standard working patterns. We will keep you updated on how this is progressing and hope that as many trade union women as possible can attend this event.  

Fiona Steele
Deputy General Secretary
Aegis the Union

Friday, 12 August 2016

EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL – labour movement and James Connolly

James Connolly’s life as a trade unionist and socialist activist in Edinburgh and Leith is the theme of a morning of readings, songs and commentary at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. It takes place at 11.00 a.m. on Saturday 20 August in the International Festival centre, The Hub, at the head of the Royal Mile, near the Edinburgh Castle esplanade.

The union sponsorship making the event possible has been co-ordinated by Edinburgh Trades Union Council, which since the International Festival began in 1947, has nominated a member of the Festival Council. The current nominee is Terry Brotherstone, UCU, who is also co-ordinator of a group of trade unionists interested in increasing active union involvement with this major international event, and greater participation of trade unionists and their families in the cultural experiences it makes possible.

In 2014 a union-sponsored lecture and discussion on War Reporting – in a Festival that commemorated the beginning of World War I – featured NUJ members Lyse Doucet and Orla Guerin and was widely acclaimed. The year before Paul Mason, also an NUJ member – in a Festival programme concerned with the arts and technology – made a presentation on the role of new technologies in international protest movements.

A number of unions, or union branches, have contributed to make this initiative possible: they include EIS and EIS/ULA, Equity, the Musicians Union, the National Union of Journalists, Prospect, TESSA, Unison, Unite and the University and College Union Scotland.

This year’s event – featuring Scottish performers – recognises the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising, following which Connolly was executed in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. But it starts from his birth, in 1868, in Edinburgh’s Cowgate; focuses on his time in Edinburgh, where he lived for longer than in any other single place; and reflects on the fact that it was in Scotland’s capital and in working-class Leith that he became a dedicated trade unionist and revolutionary socialist.

The event sold out quickly but additional tickets (at £6) were released at the end of July by The Hub booking office, Castlehill, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE; online: telephone: 0131 473 2000.