STUC on Queen's Speech

May 8th 2013

Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary said

“Bereft of a single new idea to tackle the economy the Coalition has turned to scapegoating and fostering insecurity.

“It comes as no surprise that the supply-side ideologues in the Tory Party refuse to budge from their fantasy that making people easier to fire is the way to foster a secure and growing economy. And it is now wearingly familiar that they continue to use Vince Cable, who probably does understand the need for a demand-led recovery, to come up with these attacks on workers’ rights.

“Once again we are seeing health and safety being attacked through the Government’s plans to exempt many self-employed workers from health and safety legislation and employers having the right to carry out protected conversations, the evidence of which cannot be used in employment tribunals.

“The powers of Employment Tribunals to make wider recommendations in discrimination is another attack, not only on our tribunal system, but will have a massive impact on equality in the workplace, already reeling from the swingeing cuts the Government has inflicted on the EHRC.

“The so-called reforms on immigration may turn out to be more bluster than action, nevertheless the continued scapegoating of migrants is a massive concern.

“While the precise details of this Bill are not yet available, initial commentary suggests that it is likely to introduce new rules which might sound tough but will be difficult to apply in practice and will raise significant questions about how they function in the context of devolution. The STUC is also concerned about introducing any approach which would place trade union members working in a range of sectors, including housing and health care, in a difficult position, requiring them to become proxy border officials, and ultimately changing the nature of the service they provide.

“We urge the Government to consider the detail of this issue carefully and not simply lurch to the right with problematic and badly drawn up rules, simply in response to an electoral challenge from UKIP.”


For further information contact Dave Moxham 0141 337 8100

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