Date: Fri 19 April
Purpose first - powers later, UNISON tells Scottish Labour
UNISON Scotland, one of Labour’s largest affiliated unions, has told the party its first and main task must be to identify the purpose of greater devolution before it can realistically define new powers for the Scottish Parliament which will meet the aspirations of the Scottish people.
Responding to the publication of Scottish Labour's Devolution Commission report today (Friday 19 April), Mike Kirby, Scottish Secretary of UNISON said:
“Labour’s devolution commission has attempted to address - in its own terms - one over-riding question : ‘how can we meet the aspirations of the Scottish people for fuller devolution while maintaining the integrity of the UK which we know they value strongly?’
“In doing so the commission has failed to address the central issue of ‘the aspirations of the Scottish people’ before defining what it regards as necessary powers for the Scottish Parliament.
“How does Scottish Labour respond to the vital issues being raised by the STUC, the industrial wing of the labour and trade union movement, representing 600,000 members and their families and communities?
“How does Scottish Labour address the aspirations of the Scottish people for full employment, properly funded public services, housing, health, social care and education provision, to meet social need and provide protection and opportunity, democratically controlled delivery of vital community services, fairer employment practices and trade union rights.
“UNISON believes the political objectives of Scottish Labour need to be fully in tune with these aspirations which have been debated and agreed by the Scottish trade union movement and published in the STUC’s ‘A Just Scotland’ and in our own UNISON publications “A Fairer Scotland’ and “A Fairer Scotland and Devolution’.
“As the conclusion of ‘A Fairer Scotland and Devolution’ argues, if we seek greater devolved powers or any other change, we should do so for the purpose of improving the lives of the people who work and live in Scotland. The constitutional mechanics are a means to that end, and not an end in themselves.”
“Scottish Labour’s first and main task must be to identify the purpose of greater devolution before it can realistically define new powers for the Scottish Parliament which will meet the aspirations of the Scottish people.”
For information please contact:
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary, 07939 143355
Dave Watson, Head of Bargaining and Campaigns, 07958 122 409
Stephen Low, Policy Officer, 07956 852 822
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, 07876 566 978
Notes for editors
1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working mainly in the public sector.
2. ‘Fairer Scotland and devolution’ is on our website at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/scotlandsfuture/FairerScotlandDevoPaperFeb2013.pdf
3. ‘A Fairer Scotland’ is at www.unison-scotland.org.uk/scotlandsfuture/FairerScotlandNov2012.pdf