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Union rep awards

The STUC Union Rep Awards consist of five awards:

  • STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning
  • STUC Equality Award
  • STUC Frank Maguire Award for Health and Safety
  • STUC Award for Organising
  • SUL Learner of the Year

The nomination process for the awards asks unions to identify lay activists who have excelled in the promotion of workplace learning agenda, equalities, health and safety or organising within their union, workplace or community.

The awards are presented at Annual Congress.

The details for submitting entries for the 2024 Union Rep Awards will be circulated to affiliates and posted on this page in early 2024.

For STUC Learner of the Year information go to the Scottish Union Learning website.


Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning

Helen Dowie award logoHelen Dowie was involved in the trade union movement in Fife for most of her adult life. She worked in Rosyth Dockyard for about 20 years and was active within her union. Through her union, Helen organised the yard, organised and campaigned in many initiatives, and supported many workers. She took the union into the community through the organisation of the Rosyth festival and music events to highlight important union campaigns.

Helen, along with her partner Mike Morris, started the Trades Council News in Fife. By writing, printing, editing and distributing the news-sheet, Helen and Mike kept union members involved and aware of the issues and also spread the word more widely throughout Fife. Helen and Mike made many solid relationships and friendships through their union involvement. Helen worked with Mike and many other individuals to support the development of education and learning in Scotland. She was a key player in supporting the development of the lifelong learning agenda that union members know today.

Helen's life was devoted to supporting others through the trade union movement and her death at a young age was mourned by trade unionists throughout Fife and Scotland. This annual award was established in 2006 to commemorate Helen's lifetime achievements in lifelong learning and to recognise other outstanding trade unionists who continue to demonstrate their commitment to union values and lead the learning movement forward in Scotland.

This is award is sponsored by the Open University in Scotland.


STUC Organising Award

Organising Award logoAs part of the STUC’s work to promote trade union and the role lay members play in developing workplace organisation, the STUC has established an award to recognise work done by trade union members who, individually or collectively, actively promote trade unions in their workplace and improved workplace organisation. The inaugural award was presented at STUC Congress in April 2014. The award is sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors Scotland.

The STUC launched this award to recognise the importance of the work done to promote trade union membership and effective trade union representation in all sectors of employment.

Award Objectives

The objectives of the Award are to:

  • Recognise good practice and innovation of trade union members in promoting organising.
  • Encourage more trade unions and their members to recognise and take forward more organising activity.

All STUC affiliated trade union organisations are invited to support the Award by making nominations. As noted above, the Award will be presented to a Scottish trade union member, or a group of members working together, and therefore multiple applications from each STUC affiliated trade union organisation are welcome.


STUC Equality Award

Do you know someone who has made a difference? Someone who brings energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to promoting equality and tackling discrimination? Then we want to hear about them.

The objective of the Award is to highlight the positive difference union reps can make in the workplace. We aim to recognise an individual or group who has made a difference, and who brings energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to promoting equality and tackling discrimination.

All STUC affiliated trade union organisations are invited to make nominations. The Award will be presented to a Scottish trade union rep or a group of members working together, and multiple applications from each STUC affiliated trade union organisation are welcome.

This award is sponsored by TUC Education in Scotland.


STUC Frank Maguire Award for Health & Safety

Frank Maguire Award logoThompsons Scotland is the largest trade union law firm in Scotland, securing over 55 million in compensation for trade union members in 2008. Founded in 1979, Thompsons Scotland, representing trade unions in the private sector, central and local government and the NHS, prides itself in fighting for justice for victims of corporate negligence as well as securing rightful compensation for those injured at work.

Thompsons shares the view of the STUC that work related accident and disease are preventable. Since Thompsons announced its support for the STUC Health and Safety Officer post at Congress in Aberdeen in 2001, the STUC has worked closely together to promote prevention as the alternative to cure. Continued support from Thompsons allows the STUC to develop work in occupational health and safety.

Thompsons continues to support trade unions and have had many successes; an example of which is the abolition of civil liability exclusion, a ground breaking case that allows trade unions the right to take court action to force employers to carry out risk assessments. They represent the majority of asbestos victims and campaigned for changes in Scots law to ensure the industry and their insurers do not deny those exposed to asbestos recompense for their illnesses.

Where injury or disease occur, Thompsons will fight for compensation and justice.

The STUC Frank Maguire Award for Health and Safety was established in 2008 to recognise the role played by health and safety representatives and the wider trade union movement in protecting members and their families with regard to their health, safety and wellbeing.

SUL Learner of the Year

You can find out more about this award here.