UNISON members win the STUC One Workplace Equality Award 2008

Presented by Scottish first minister Alex Salmond at this year's STUC congress in Inverness, the award recognises the role of Scottish trade union members in challenging discriminatory practices and attitudes in the workplace.

Ms Stewart, a branch secretary, and Ms North, a support for learning assistant at Maxwellton High School in Dumfries and a steward for UNISON Dumfries and Galloway local authority branch, 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classroom assistants campaign last year that saw a planned proposal to cut up to 70 classroom assistant posts withdrawn by education officials.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 in a 6,000 signature petition being given to the council and over 2,000 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 Ms Stewart and Ms North's successful work with their branch and nationally to eradicate the historical gender pay inequalities and promote equality of opportunity for all workers.

UNISON's Scottish secretary Matt Smith said: "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 longer term."

STUC general secretary Grahame Smith 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."

Ms Stewart said: "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".

And Ms North noted: "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".

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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