At its meeting with the First Minister today (12 July 2016) a delegation from the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) urged the Scottish Government to intensify its commitment to fair work and progressive workplace practices in light of the immediate and long term challenges facing the Scottish economy in the wake of the Brexit vote.
STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:
“The short term economic consequences of the Brexit vote are likely to be severe and will have most impact on working class communities. With growth currently very weak in Scotland, and employment falling rapidly, the now unavoidable extended period of uncertainty is the last thing the Scottish economy needs.
“While caution should be applied in predicting what might happen in the longer term, it is difficult to ignore the warnings of a significant contraction of the economy, a decline in investment, rising unemployment, falling tax revenues and the distinct possibility of a recession.
“Influenced by the analysis of the STUC, the Scottish Government has placed fair work and inclusive growth at the heart of its economic strategy. If the resilience of our companies is to improve, if our underlying and persistent productivity problems are to be overcome, the drive to reduce inequality through improving employment protection and workplace innovation must now be given even greater priority.
“This is the time for employers, public and private, to invest in the workforce, engage with employees and unions in devising an effective response to challenging circumstances and to resist short term cutbacks that will risk the prospect of long term growth.”
The STUC presented the First Minister with the following suggestions for action to address the economic impact of the Brexit vote:
Urge (in conjunction with other devolved administrations and London) the new Prime Minister/Chancellor to abandon austerity to allow investment in public services and to boost domestic demand
Intensify its commitment to fair work and progressive workplace practices and the positive role of unions in improving economic resilience and productivity
Work with the Fair Work Convention to develop collective bargaining arrangements in sectors characterised by ‘vulnerable’ employment
Launch with the STUC and its affiliates an initiative to support migrant workers living and working in Scotland to ensure full access to employment rights and organise workplaces with a high density migrant workforce
Speed up plans for investment in social housing
Immediate action to establish investment plans, determined by employers and unions, for sectors most likely to be affected by Brexit
Oppose any proposal from the UK Government to cut Corporation Tax
Continue to press the UK Government for a commitment that all EU citizens living, studying and working in the UK can continue to do so without restriction
Press the UK Government to remain a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and to retain the Human Rights Act
Provide sufficient resources for the civil service to enable it to deal with the extensive demands of pre-Brexit negotiations, implementation of the Scotland Act and the Programme for Government
For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100