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News round-up / Union members accept SVT offer, Clear Your Head, Grant supports lecturers’ union, small businesses survey, marine college shortlisted

Sullom Voe Terminal. Shetland News

MEMBERS of the Unite union at Sullom Voe Terminal have now voted to accept a new offer from operator EnQuest.

Members had previously voted for strike action over terms of conditions of the workforce, but it was suspended in March following an improved offer.

The industrial action had also been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

THE SCOTTISH Government’s Clear Your Head campaign, launched this week, is designed to help people feel better while staying at home worrying about uncertain times ahead.

Simple steps to improve mental health and wellbeing include:-

  • Keeping to a routine – trying to sleep and wake at the same time, and eating at regular times.
  • Moving more – staying active, within the current guidance, to boost your mood.
  • Taking a break – limiting exposure to the news on social media if you feel things are getting on top of you, instead using fun games, quizzes and apps online to pass the time.
  • Making time for yourself – simply taking a breather or doing something you enjoy.
  • Keeping in touch – phoning family and friends to ease worry and feel connected.

Shetland Islands Council’s depute leader Emma Macdonald said: “It’s important that we recognise the impact that this pandemic is having on people’s lives and the restrictions in place will cause anxiety and frustration for many.”

Tips about staying positive can be found on the campaign’s website at https://clearyourhead.scot/ 

HIGHLANDS and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said she would continue to support the lecturers union’s campaign to keep the proposed new merged college, the Shetland Institute UHI, in public hands.

On Wednesday, the council in Shetland agreed a business case for Shetland College, the NAFC Marine Centre as well as Train Shetland to merge, and recommended for the new college to be unincorporated.

The EIS-FELA union has been campaigning against this saying it would potentially privatise education.

Grant said: “The Scottish Government will have to sign off any decision and take into account the real concern and unease in the community about privatising the new merged college.

“The new merged college will be funded predominantly from public funds and therefore needs to be subject to democratic public accountability and the scrutiny of Audit Scotland, in line with public sector finance requirements.

THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) is conducting a major survey of small and medium sized businesses and the self-employed to ensure that the sector has a voice while lockdown restrictions continue.

The FSB’s Highlands and Islands development manager David Richardson said: “At this unimaginably dangerous time for Shetland businesses, and for the Highlands & Islands economy and community as a whole, I encourage all business owners and the self-employed to take part.

“It is important that the realities of life in the Highlands & Islands are revealed in this UK-wide survey.

“But we don’t just ask for help; we also recommend workable, affordable and effective ways of delivering it, and the results are there for all to see in the business support packages being delivered by the UK and Scottish Governments and local authorities.”

The survey can be found at https://www.fsbbigvoice.co.uk/ImpactOfCovid19  It closes on Thursday 30 April.

THE NAFC Marine Centre UHI has been shortlisted for the Aquaculture Awards 2020 which give recognition to those making an exceptional contribution to the global aquaculture industry.

The college is a finalist in the Aquaculture Supplier of the Year category in honour of the range of training courses the centre has developed for the industry over the last few years.

NAFC principal Willie Shannon said: “Getting to this stage of an international award is a tremendous achievement and a tribute to NAFC’s aquaculture training staff whose experience, hard work and commitment have been responsible for the success of centre’s aquaculture training programme.”

The winners of the Aquaculture Awards 2020 are due to be announced in September.