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Fiona Steele, Aegis' Deputy General Secretary, appointed Chair of STUC Women's Committee

As many of you may know I have been an active member of the Scottish Trade Union Congress Women’s Committee since 2013. This year I am very proud and privileged to be appointed as the Chair of the Women’s Committee (WC). I am the first person from Aegis to chair an STUC Committee and it is a great honour to do so.

One of the first duties in my role is to chair the annual strategy day where the committee, supported by the STUC staff, draw up the workplan for the year based on the motions passed at our conference which was held on 25th and 26thOctober.

I then presented the workplan to the STUC General Council on 12 January with the help of the vice-chairs Andrea Bradley (Educational Institute of Scotland) and Lorna Glen (Unite).

I outlined the priorities for the committee this year, which we agreed would be to focus on Covid19 – Recovery and Fair Work, Sexual Harassment and Gender Based Violence (GBV) and to continue our campaign on expanding universal free school meals for all.

We identified some key events that would help us deliver on our priorities and we are now planning for these. They include:

  •  A Women’s Weekend School covering conference skills as this is always very popular and is a good way to encourage and support women new to the movement to participate in the women’s conference. We also plan some short bitesize webinars being offered in the lead up to the weekend school covering topics like campaigning and mentoring for example.

  • A joint event with Thomson’s solicitors covering sexual harassment and Gender Based Violence as Health and Safety and Fair Work issues and bring in the legal angle as well as the challenges faced by those reporting these issues in the workplace.

  • We launched a Sexual Harassment at Work survey as part of the 16 days of activism against GBV and have written to unions, a variety of external organisations, health boards and COSLA asking them to distribute it to their networks to maximise coverage. We plan to publicise the results at an event to bring women together on International Women’s Day.

  • We are also hosting the Women of the Isles meeting in November this year which is a great opportunity to showcase our work to our colleagues from the TUC, Welsh TUC and ICTU and for us to learn from the work they are doing and collaborate where appropriate.

We have two key themes running through our workplan this year. One is Intersectionality and we have already started to build on the work we’ve been doing with other equality committees by meeting with them to discuss potential topics for the weekend school that will meet the objectives of their committees’ too. All the equalities chairs this year are women and we are all keen to work together to engage with underrepresented women.   

The other key theme is bringing in more younger women into the union movement and helping them develop into activism and we have already started discussions with the Youth Committee around how best we can work together on this.

I hope this has been helpful overview of the sorts of things I’ll be involved in this year as Chair. In addition to this being a great development opportunity for me it’s also a great way to promote Aegis the Union externally as I will be speaking to union members, reps and officers throughout the UK during my time as Chair.

If anyone has any questions please feel free to email me at Fiona.steele@aegistheunion.co.uk .

Fiona Steele

Aegis Deputy General Secretary

 

 

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“A member could come and talk to me about anything that might be on their mind, even if it's just to get something off their chest.”

Fredrick MarkhamAegis Representative