STUC General Secretary on the General Election campaign

April 19th 2015

Speaking in advance of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) Annual Congress taking place in Ayr, the STUC General Secretary, Grahame Smith, said:

"As we begin to see the Scottish parties set out their election pledges, it is clear that the impact of STUC and union campaigning has resulted in policy on workplace protection being given more than superficial attention.

"While the sort of progressive policies to improve individual employment rights that have been put forward by Labour and the SNP are essential, economic inequality in Scotland cannot be effectively challenged, the cost of living crisis alleviated and the decline in real wages reversed, without a wider commitment to remove the restrictions on union recognition and representation and to allow trade unions the freedom to organise and to bargain collectively.

"All in all, the commitments made so far by both Labour and the SNP fall some way short of what we expect. If either party does indeed want to tackle economic insecurity and income inequality they need to reassess their priorities and previously entrenched positions.

"If the SNP truly wants to tackle economic insecurity and income inequality it would be far better concentrating on the real powers we need to create a better society, the powers over minimum wages, employment law, health and safety and trade union freedom, rather than prioritising full fiscal autonomy in the face of clear evidence that it would be to our detriment.

"And the Scottish Labour Party, by continuing to oppose the devolution of powers over workplace protection, is missing a golden opportunity to forge the enduring home rule settlement it claims to desire while spurning the opportunity to improve the lives of people, not just in Scotland, but across the UK, through the example that could be demonstrated by the progressive polices these powers would allow.

"It is clear that the election of a Tory government would be a disaster for working people. Far from being the party of working people as they claim, the Tory agenda is one that is carefully designed to undermine the bargaining power, living standards and human rights of working people. It is transparently anti-trade union and profoundly anti-democratic and will lead to a less fair and society and a less stable and resilient economy.


For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100

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