STUC Congress – Communities and unions join together to discuss the Better Way

April 18th 2011

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) today predicts a major upsurge in joint campaigning and political pressure as communities come together to campaign against cuts and for economic growth. Representatives from community, equality and faith groups will participate in the STUC’s first ever Congress Special Open Session, focussing on the There is a Better Way campaign.

STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:

“Today’s session represents a small slice of the real Big Society in Scotland - ready and willing to work together for the common good but also focussed on defending the fabric of society against the wanton destruction wreaked by cuts and a failing economy”

In its afternoon session, Congress will debate the specific trade union response to the economic/political crisis including the potential for co-ordinated industrial action and joint community campaigns. In its There is a Better Way statement (attached), the General Council will issue a challenge to local councils to adopt a far more campaigning approach to cuts

Grahame Smith will say: “Many have told me that they don’t want to make cuts; they don’t want to sack workers. And I know that many councillors believe in the public sector and in public service. But until now they have failed to stand with us and make the case against the cuts. That is just not good enough. We don’t want to be fighting local government. We want to be fighting alongside local government like we were in the 80’s and 90’s”

The General Council will also launch its Scottish Election Pledge (attached) to be circulated to all prospective MSPs calling on them to support policies aimed at jobs, democratic ownership, social justice and the protection of services.

Grahame Smith said:

“We are issuing a challenge to MSPs of all parties to sign up, and stick to, pledges which can meet the challenge of protecting jobs and services in Scotland. But the UK context cannot be avoided or ignored candidates will also need to tell us where they stand on the Chancellor’s disastrous policies on cuts and low growth”

ENDS

NOTES

Around 30 organisations are expected to attend the Congress Special Open Session. Those requesting to speak in the debate include:

HELP project in Argyll and Bute Scottish Women’s Aid Shelter Scotland Scottish Poverty Alliance Scottish Living Wage Campaign Clydeside Action Against Asbestos Angus Volunteer Centre Fife - Fighting for Equality NUS Scotland Conforti Institute Church of Scotland Waverley Care Renfrewshire Schools Campaign

Attachments General Council statement on the There is a Better Way campaign

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