Further Education Stewards Retirement

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It is with sadness we note two of our long-time Stewards in Further Education now retiring. June McLachlan and Shirley Sephton have both been active members of UNISON for some time and have been Stewards for a number of years. They are both very knowledgeable and helped each other, as well as helping a lot of the members out with various issues and being a great support during the restructuring when a lot of support staff were getting their working hours reduced due to cutbacks. They were both a big part of FE Colleges  strike action last year for fair pay and Shirley went for demonstrations to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh where she met Colin Smyth and other MSP’s.

Over the past few years Shirley has been an active member with the F.E. committee where she was Vice Chairman. She has endeavored to fight UNISON’s corner and successfully got everyone a wage increase, extra leave and started the negotiations for equal job evaluations across Scotland. Below is a quote which Shirley emailed to her colleagues on the morning or her last day:

“Following many meetings with Management, Ministers, the UNISON FE Committee and a ballot of our members, we managed to agree the 2017/18 pay award. We have also commenced talks about the Support Staff Job Evaluation process, which is being discussed for all Colleges in Scotland who have signed up for National Negotiations. This will be a huge task to complete and I can only recommend that anyone who is not a member of UNISON considers becoming one to keep themselves updated with progress and supported through the implementation of the JE scheme, this will affect each and every support staff member who is within scope of the National Bargaining agreement(the vast majority of you).”

This is what John Gallacher, our Scottish Organiser had to say:

“Shirley Sephton made a massive contribution to organising FE members in D&G, Scotland and across the UK. She was a strong voice for Colleges within and outwith UNISON . The attributes she brought to the UNISON negotiating Team in the recently established National Bargaining arena were instrumental  in achieving agreements on a 35 hour week; 44 days annual leave which will benefit members for decades. She was part of a Team which achieved pay deals in excess of Government Pay Policy in 2015, 2016, and 2017.  Her detailed and meticulous organisation, steadfastness and determination, pride in her members led her to a an outstanding representative of working people in the Sector.” JG

Both June and Shirley will be sorely missed by UNISON members in both Dumfries and Stranraer Campus, respectively. Our New Steward for Stranraer Campus is Senga Mann, however space at Dumfries is left open. Should you be interested, please contact the Branch


Pictured below are images from FE College Strikes last year

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