First minister and the STUC agree on transfer of powers
First minister Nicola Sturgeon has shared “serious concerns” with the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) over the impact on the people of Scotland of the UK government’s commitment to continued austerity.
Holding her first bi-annual meeting with the STUC, the first minister agreed a new Memorandum of Understanding reflecting the shared priorities of the Scottish Government and the STUC and also discussed the outcome of the UK General Election.
Among the shared concerns were the additional £12 billion of cuts to social security spending and further erosion of trade union and employment rights.
The first minister and the STUC share the view that as a priority the UK government should agree to the full devolution of powers over the minimum wage, trade union and employment law, health and safety law and equalities legislation and further devolution of powers over social security.
The Scottish Government confirmed its commitment to working with the STUC and the full range of stakeholders on proposals for extending devolution.
The first minister said: “A fair society supports a strong economy and we are focused on delivering this by growing our economy, protecting public services, tackling inequality and empowering our communities.
“I have always stated that I am committed to creating a wealthier and more equal society and this is a vision shared by the STUC, as the signing of this MoU shows.
“The Scottish Government and the STUC share very real concerns about the impact further austerity could have in Scotland, combined with welfare cuts and the potential erosion of employment rights.
“We know further spending cuts will only further hit our most vulnerable communities.”
“We will work with the STUC to make sure Scotland’s opposition to austerity is heard and our desire for a fairer deal for Scotland is delivered.”
General secretary of the STUC, Grahame Smith, said: “The STUC strongly believes that programme of the new UK Government will inevitably result in a weaker economy and a significant increase in inequality. Further swingeing cuts in departmental and social security spending threaten both the economic recovery and the living standards of society’s most vulnerable people. The attack on employment and trade union rights will further undermine workplace democracy and leave Scottish workers as some of the weakest legal protections in the developed world.
“The STUC will work with the Scottish Government and other civic organisations to oppose this unnecessary and damaging new dose of austerity and to instead help build a fairer and more equal Scotland.”