Immoral Tory anti-trade union laws must be scrapped

In the midst of the Tory cost-of-living crisis, which is inflicting real pain and suffering on millions of ordinary families and workers, Rishi Sunak’s Tory government is making it his priority to attack trade unions.

The UK already has the most restrictive anti-trade union laws in Europe, but as the hard-right rhetoric continues taking hold, the Tories unveiled their latest immoral proposals to let bosses sue unions and sack workers.

Make no mistake – while Westminster engages in a toxic race to the bottom, it’s Scotland’s key workers who are set to pay the price of Westminster control.

Just months ago, the UK government applauded key workers – now, they are threatening them with the sack if they go on strike. This shameful qct of hypocrisy is plain for all to see.

We in the SNP condemn these plans in the strongest possible terms, and will oppose them every step of the way.

The brazen anti-worker attitude of the UK government is in stark contrast to the constructive role the SNP Scottish Government has played in recent pay disputes north of the border.

While the budget of the Scottish Government is constrained by the limits of devolution, Scottish ministers have been actively engaging, getting around the table and working to secure the best possible deal for workers.

Meanwhile, the Tory government chose to pick a fight with the unions instead, and arrogantly refused to negotiate in order to score cheap political points.

The recent series of papers from the Scottish Government show exactly what Scotland could do with the full powers of independence, from ending age-based discrimination in the national minimum wage, to laws that strengthen the rights of workers with flexible working and better industrial relations.

Compared to independent European countries similar to Scotland, the UK has more low-paid workers, a bigger gender pay gap, longer working hours and significantly lower statutory sick pay.

To succeed in our mission of building a fairer Scotland, we must improve job security, wages and work-life balance. We must value workers, not just through words, but through concrete actions.

These priorities are the polar opposite of the latest proposals by Rishi Sunak’s Tories at Westminster – but at present, the Scottish Parliament simply lacks the powers.

Scotland urgently needs the full powers of a normal independent country, and while we get on with building momentum for Scotland’s right to choose, the SNP has repeatedly called for the employment powers to be devolved to Holyrood so we can protect workers in the here and now.

Shamefully, Labour has repeatedly refused to agree to that – including in Gordon Brown’s latest reheated report which is silent on the issues of employment law and rights.

It’s increasingly clear that only with independence can we properly protect and enhance workers’ rights in Scotland, and build that fairer country that we all know is possible.