STUC on trade union and the referendum debate

September 8th 2014

Speaking from the TUC Annual Congress in Liverpool in advance of the publication of the STUC's Final A Just Scotland Report on the Referendum, STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:

“It is clear that the issue of social justice will be of key significance in determining the outcome of the Referendum. The STUC and unions in Scotland can take much of the credit for putting the issues of inequality, poverty, decent work and dignified lives at the heart of the Referendum debate.

“Neither side of the debate has a monopoly on social justice or of trade union values such as unity and solidarity. There are strong advocates for a more socially and economically just Scotland in both the Yes and No camps, just as there are those on both sides who give scant regard to the interests of working people and their families.

“Voting YES does not mean that you have no concern for the cause of workers elsewhere in the UK or further afield just as voting NO makes you no less of a patriot. To imply, as some have, that you are less of a trade unionist if you don't vote NO or your union is any less concerned about solidarity, unity and social justice if it is not campaigning for a NO, is simply wrong. Equally, to express reservations about voting YES makes you no less concerned about Scotland's future.

“The STUC and unions representing the majority of union members in Scotland have democratically decided not to recommend either a YES or NO vote. That hasn't meant we have been standing on the side lines. We have been actively engaged in the debate about Scotland's future, attempting to ensure that the issues of concern to our members are addresses by both sides and making sure that people register to vote. The direction the debate has taken and the number expected to vote on the day shows that we have had some success.

“Whatever the outcome next week, Scotland and the UK will be different. The trade union movement on this island will continue to work together in the interests of working people. Our trade union values will not change. Our concern for workers’ rights, our demands for an extension of collective bargaining, for fair pay, for quality jobs and public services, for serious measures to end poverty and inequality, will not change. But how we affect that change, the way in which we work together, will be different.”

ENDS

For further details contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100 07891026870

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