Speaking after the First Minister’s STUC Congress speech where he answered questions from delegates, Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary said:
“The First Minister gave a strong performance in answering questions from delegates on a range of key issues for Scotland’s trade unions. Many civil servants in Scotland currently employed by the reserved public sector will particularly welcome his guarantee of employment security post-independence. His clarification on the Scottish Government’s support for the East Coast Mainline remaining under public ownership was also appreciated.
“However the First Minister’s response on the delegate’s concerns on the weakness of the Procurement Reform Bill was very disappointing and a number of key questions, particularly on currency and tax, set out in the STUC’s second A Just Scotland report, have yet to be satisfactorily answered.
“Delegates made it very clear that existing areas of devolved policy such as childcare and Further Education are seen as key issues in the referendum debate and it was clear from the reaction in the hall that some delegates were unconvinced by the responses received.
“The First Minister’s level of confidence in relation to Europe and cross-border pension schemes is likely to come under significant further scrutiny in the months ahead. We look forward to the Scottish Government providing additional clarification on these issues over the coming period.
“On these and a number of other issues we will need to assess the detail of the answers he gave but were encouraged that there is potential to make progress.
“The STUC enthusiastically welcomes the First Minister’s confirmation that the Scottish Government will continue to fund Scottish Union Learning for the next three years.
“However, his commitment to increase the target for Modern Apprenticeships to 30,000 by 2020 seems modest in light of the youth employment challenge we face. “
For further details contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100 Or Ann Henderson 0141 337 8100