‘Unique’ double award for Scottish Union Learning Rep

10 Sep

A Unite Union Learning Rep (ULR) from Scotland will receive a unique double at the TUC Congress in Brighton this Tuesday morning (11th September) for her work at the former Johnnie Walker factory in Kilmarnock.

Janette Dunbar, who also received the Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning at the STUC Congress in April, will be presented with the TUC Union Learning Rep Award for 2012 – the highest UK accolade ULRs can receive in the movement.

Janette’s work is a story of hope in the midst of heartbreak, set against the backdrop of Diageo’s closure of the historic Johnnie Walker bottling factory and a demonstration of trade union learning’s invaluable role in developing the qualifications and skills of people.

Along with her fellow ULRs, Janette developed a lifelong learning programme to support workers impacted by the closure.  In over one year, they analysed over 700 learning requests and collectively bargained with Diageo and external learning partners to provide learning opportunities for Unite members at Johnnie Walker in Kilmarnock.

Janette said, “It is beyond any expectations we could ever have to achieve a double award for our Lifelong Learning programme at Johnnie Walker. 

It proves to our members and anyone else intrigued by trade union education that even when workers are being thrown on the scrap-heap by their employers, when one door closes another can open through union learning.”

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said, “What Janette has achieved is remarkable, addressing the total despair felt by her colleagues by organising workplace learning opportunities delivered around shift times and days off. 

Janette, along with her fellow workplace ULRs and with the support of our dedicated Learning Organisers, has provided hope and opportunity for workers facing redundancy through the learning agenda – that’s invaluable. 

It should also not be forgotten that the learning programme at Johnnie Walker would not have been successful without facility agreements around paid release for union representatives. Yet again, this demonstrates the economic, social and very human contribution that ULRs can make where facility time agreements are in place. 

Janette’s unique double represents the very best of Scottish trade unionism and today we celebrate this success.” 


Notes:  Janette Dunbar will receive the TUC Union Learning Award at TUC Congress 2012 on Tuesday 11th September at the Brighton Centre.  This will take place during the morning session.

For further information please contact Unite Scotland Learning Organiser Pat Mcilvogue on 07918631805 or Peter Welsh in Unite Scotland Communications on 07810157931.



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