Speech by Grahame Smith General Secretary STUC to the ‘No Trade Union Bill, No Austerity’ Rally

December 10th 2015

1900 hrs 10 December 2015 Glasgow Concert Hall

In a speech at tonight’s rally in the Glasgow Concert Hall, which will be addressed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, the General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) will say:

“Tonight’s event follows six months of organising and campaigning during which you have galvanised communities across Scotland, union and non-union members, students and the unemployed, equalities and civil liberties activists and political activists and politicians.

“The attendance tonight and the platform of speakers we have illustrates the extent of political opposition to austerity and to attacks on trade unions and is an impressive demonstration of unity that goes beyond party political interests and is welcomed not just by the STUC and its member unions but by all who oppose austerity and value the effective voice unions provided in the workplace and beyond.

“I want to thank the Scottish Government and local authorities, not just for their strong statements of opposition to the Bill, but for their pledge not to cooperate with the legislation if it is eventually forced through.

“And I give this pledge in return – we will give our full support to any employer, public or private, that refuses to comply with the legislation.

“We will of course continue to campaign to defeat this Bill in the Westminster Parliament on behalf of workers across Britain.

“But let us also be clear, key provisions of this Bill intrude on devolved responsibilities to such an extent that these provision should not be applied to Scotland without the consent of the Scottish Parliament, a consent that I am confident would not be forthcoming.

“And it would be totally unacceptable if our democratically elected Parliament was denied the right to withhold its consent by some quirk of Parliamentary procedure.

“It is inevitable that if this Bill is implemented it will bring unions into conflict with the law and bring the police, lawyers and judges into industrial relations as never before.

“And should any of our unions be forced into a position where they have to defy the law in order to effectively represent their members they will have my full support and the support of the collective, organised Scottish trade union movement, through the STUC.”

ENDS

For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100

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