RED PAPER COLLECTIVE WELCOMES YES CAMPAIGN’S RESPONSE TO THE STUC, BUT FINDS IT TIMID
The Yes Campaign has demonstrated that it wants to engage with the Trade Union movement by responding to STUC’s report on A Just Scotland. Although, given the policies constraints of using a shared currency and the EU as envisaged by the Yes campaign, the document asks almost nothing which could not be answered by greater powers to a Scottish Parliament or ideally a federal arrangement within the UK .
The report states that “It does not seek to guarantee or predict any one outcome from independence…” and “Of course, how Scotland would use new powers… is not for the Yes Scotland campaign to say – we leave that to the political parties.” It does not, however, stop the document claiming things for an independent Scotland as if they could make firm policy commitments.
At the heart of the Yes Campaign’s response is a desire to incorporate the trade unions in the “project” of an independent Scotland as if all class conflict would evaporate. They claim that “there is a consensus amongst citizens, civic groups and organisations, as well as political parties and indeed some of our most successful entrepreneurs”. I am sure some of the employees of Brian Souter and Jim McColl find them a long way from the Yes Campaign’s view of “a virtuous cycle of enterprise and compassion”.
It claims that the Scottish Government and COSLA are working to ameliorate the impact of changes to Council Tax included in coalition welfare policy, but neglects to mention the SNP’s attack on local government with its imposed Council Tax freeze on local government since 2007.
In its section on Labour Market and Rights the theme of incorporation continues with the promotion of “social partnership” with government and employers. Many would argue that Trade Unions have a different role to play and should not allow themselves to be sucked into a cosy relationship with employers instead of standing up for their members’ rights.
As for workers’ rights the document can only echo Alex Salmond’s half hearted comment “There is little appetite in Scotland for a further diminution of workers’ rights”, ignoring the fact that we already have the most restrictive laws in Europe and ones which have been repeatedly condemned by the ILO. Such a phrase clearly indicates the SNP’s wish to keep big business on board and should be a warning light to the TU movement. The TU movement would continue to be hamstrung by legal restraints. This itself should be concern every trade unionist.
The document is right in saying that the debate provides a unique opportunity for Scotland to address key questions for Scotland ‘s future, but as the Red Paper Collective argues, the answer is not independence, but to make a start by using those powers already available to the Scottish Parliament.
The Red Paper Collective’s exploration of how to bring about greater equality and fairer redistribution of wealth and how to gain democratic control of our economy suggests the need for much greater change that would impact more on most working people than the timid approach on currency, defence, the monarchy and industrial development demonstrated by the Yes Scotland Campaign.
CONTACT PAULINE BRYAN, 07753546538 firstname.lastname@example.org