STUC on the Scottish Labour Party
Addressing the STUC’s LGBT Conference in Glasgow tomorrow (16 May 2015) Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary will say:
“I have been asked continually over the past week or so about the leadership of Scottish Labour. I have made no comment about this, not because I don’t have an opinion but because who leads the Labour Party in Scotland is not the business of the STUC. I would not welcome the leader of the Scottish Labour Party expressing an opinion about who should lead the STUC.
“It may be lost on some so I will repeat it again. The STUC is not affiliated to the Labour Party. The STUC is not affiliated to any political party.
“The STUC has 38 member unions only 10 of these unions are affiliated to Labour. It is clear from last Thursday’s election result that a majority of union members did not vote for the Labour Party and that includes members of those unions affiliated to Labour.
“Despite its significant presence in local government and its position as the main opposition to the SNP in the Scottish Parliament, if it does not change, Labour is in real danger of becoming irrelevant in Scottish politics.
“It needs to fundamentally reconsider not just its message but the authenticity with which that message is delivered. If it believes that recovery will be achieved by moving to the right it will not regain the confidence of working people.
“It was wiped out in Scotland not just because of its approach to the Referendum. Its failure to articulate a strong, credible anti austerity message, to oppose Trident renewal and to present a coherent and extensive plan for further devolution also played a part.
“My concern and the concern of the STUC General Council is not the relevance of the Labour Party, it is the relevance of the STUC.
“We work with all political parties when it is in the interests of our members to do so.
“This week we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Scottish Government. Our discussions with the Scottish Government in recent years have shaped the direction of it economic strategy and its approach to the labour market and workplace policy.
“The Government’s commitment to reducing inequality alongside improving competiveness, the creation of a Cabinet Secretary post for fair work, the establishment of a Fair Work Convention, the increase in Apprenticeships to 30,000 by 2020, the expansion of investment in union learning to £2.2million a year, which will open up opportunities for leaning for over 9000 workers, are all a product of our constructive engagement with the Scottish Government and would not have happened had we been only interested in Labour.”
Note for editors
The STUC Annual LGBT Conference will take place on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 May in the Beardmore Hotel, Beardmore Street, Clydebank.
STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith will address the Conference at 11.10 am.
Contact Grahame Smith 0141 337 8100