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Workers Winning Together


Stuart Fairweather, convenor of Democratic Left Scotland, considers issues and opportunities as the STUC meets in Dundee


'Workers winning together' is a bold claim - but it is one that can be asserted with some justification as the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) comes together for its annual meeting at a time of challenge. 


The UK government's continued disastrous attacks on public services are now failing to be mitigated by Holyrood. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak keeps us waiting on a general election date. Consistently policy makers are failing to create a fertile environment for meaningful just transition. 


Against this backdrop Rozanne Foyer, STUC General Secretary tells us “workers in Scotland have won more than £4 billion through industrial action….trade unions have been the most progressive force; a beacon for wealth redistribution and closing the gender pay gap”. 


Importantly, the STUC places this advance in the wider context of lobbying the Scottish Government for broader redistribution. The new tax rate for those earning £75,000-£125,000 provides evidence of the steps that can be taken. 


This step, however, should only be seen as the first. The politicians of the Scottish Parliament must use all their powers. This would provide £3.7 billion a year for our hardest hit communities and our public services. 


Alongside this congress will give consideration to a likely incoming Labour government at Westminster. Its New Deal for working people will be welcome - with the implementation closely followed, should it come to pass. 


One key call on a Starmer administration will be devolve employment law to Scotland. There is a growing cross border consensus on this, one the STUC and its affiliated unions will seek to expand. 


This focus on employment rights for Scotland's workers is set in the wider context of the need for an industrial policy that locates those in employment as central to a wellbeing economy and just transition. 


Getting to that position will require an active, informed, campaigning trade union movement. The STUC is central to enabling this and addressing the challenges that movement faces.


Published 13 April 2024. 


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