General Secretary Report April 2021

As highlighted in last month’s report, due to the Westminster Government, namely Gavin Williamson, scrapping the Union Learning project in England, our Union Learning team in England of Project Manager and four Project Workers have now left Aegis. We will all miss them and their hard work for Aegis members with great sadness and fond memories.

Our Union Learning projects in Scotland and Northern Ireland are continuing to be funded by the devolved governments.

As lockdown continues, and the first anniversary passes, we are continuing to work with employers on the key and local issues. Whether its attending and giving input to regular H&S meetings or discussing strategic initiatives with CEO and their teams, I’m pleased to say we’re at the table representing our members.

This month I want to inform you of some of the other work Aegis are involved in, on your behalf. I’d like to focus on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Fiona Steele, Aegis Deputy General Secretary, is also Vice Chair of the Scottish TUC Women’s Committee and she regularly raises motions at STUC and TUC conferences regarding women’s inequality in relation to the gender pay and pensions gap and the contributory factors. Fiona is also involved in various other women’s campaigns.

Fiona has organised a Women in Finance Leadership Course and invited women colleagues from all major finance companies in Edinburgh, many attended and they all found it extremely useful. She has done a lot of work on issues affecting older women in the workplace including producing a case study of the issues facing older women in the financial services sector workplace which formed part of a report commissioned by the Scottish Government.

I recently worked with Fiona and Maria Clark (our UL Project Manager in Scotland) on introducing an initiative to attract and recruit more BAME candidates into Aegon head office in Edinburgh and a plan to work with community groups to help support these candidates apply for positions in the finance sector and support them with the interview. This is the first project of its kind in Scotland, probably in the UK, and it starts on 1 April.

Fiona and I, along with the Assistant General Secretaries, meet all our company’s D&I managers regularly to discuss, influence and help them with their plans and projects.

When I was voted onto the TUC General Council four years ago, I was also invited to join a number of Boards and Committees. I was delighted to be asked to join the TUC LGBT+ Committee as the TUC General Council delegate on that committee. I am so privileged to be part of this hard hitting committee that helps shape the LGBT+ policies within the TUC.

Along with attending Committee meetings and having input, my role is to represent, support and raise awareness of the issues impacting the LGBT+ community at the TUC General Council meetings.

This experience and exposure gives me a lot to talk about with all our employers and their D&I teams, especially when working on strategic initiatives and rolling out D&I programmes.

Over the last few years, when I was chair of Aegon’s European Works Council, I delivered a paper to the global board on D&I. The company bought into this heavily and created posts with enough clout and seniority to deliver an extensive global programme.

Later I was invited to help shape the company’s global D&I statement which was signed by the CEO a couple of years ago.

This has had a major impact on all Aegon country units. Significantly, it also led to the Board members and each country unit CEO’s having a D&I measurement included in their performance related pay.

YBS have a similar D&I function and the D&I manager regularly presents to us at JCNC where we have an opportunity to help, support and influence.

SBS have recently recruited an Equality Rep and we’re all very excited about this and eager to see how the role develops.

Sandra Easson, AGS Aegon branch, recently joined a new network called the STUC Equalities Officers Network. We are in the beginnings of setting this up and hope to get involved in some more initiatives and campaigns around equality and diversity.

So, I’m sure you’ll agree, we’ve been involved and working on this for some time and we’ll all continue to do so with enthusiasm going forward. If anyone wants to know more or get involved please contact the Aegis mailbox, we’d be delighted to have a chat about it with you.


Best wishes


Brian Linn

General Secretary

Aegis the Union


1 April 2021


“I am the time people don’t have in helping them get back into development!”

Gemma CoxenCommercial Lending Administration Manager