UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK



STUC 2013 Perth

Action must back words in fighting cuts

Brenda Aitchison
Brenda Aitchison
Morag Lawrence
Morag Lawrence

In one of the major debates of the Congress, delegates slammed the failed economic policies of the UK Government; their failure to stimulate the economy and to tackle tax evasion and avoidance; their attacks on welfare provision, jobs, pay and pensions; and their failure to develop a credible growth strategy.

Speaker after speaker demolished the incompetency of the government, the failure of austerity and the poverty it was creating.

The General Council motion laid out a wide ranging strategy for campaigning against austerity and for a socially just and progressive welfare and tax system. Delegates also agreed to mobilise for a one day strike in protest at the cuts and to support trades union colleagues taking action.

UNISON’s Brenda Aitchison gave a graphic example of the hypocrisy of the Tory led government. "When multi-millionaire Thatcher left her home in Chester Square.. to move into the Ritz, do you think her advisers cared that the Ritz hadn't paid any Corporation Tax in 17 years? All legally apparently."

"Tax avoidance alone costs us £30 billion or 6% of revenue, yet the ConDems choose to target the poorest sections of our society", added Brenda.

"Ian Duncan Smith thinks we need to make work pay. However, he seems to have forgotten that 60% of benefits go to those who are working. In the 21st century they are the working poor."

Brenda rounded on the arrogance of the chancellor when he dismissed trade unions, churches and campaign groups concerns about welfare cuts and the Bedroom Tax as 'ill informed rubbish’. “How much wealth has been made for private property investors on the back of income received from housing benefit? You don't see that in the Daily Mail."

"We know austerity isn't working. We need the blueprint in this composite to put things right. We need to continue to unite with churches, charities and communities to fight back" and this included a co-ordinated industrial action strategy, said Brenda.

To applause, Brenda concluded: "Choose life. Choose a job. Choose to eradicate tax evasion. Choose welfare state. Choose NHS. Choose public services provided publicly. Choose living wage and employment. Choose affordable decent housing. Choose education. Choose trade unionism. Choose coordinated action. Choose a Better Way and a Just Scotland!"

And speaking for Aberdeen Trades Union Council, UNISON’s Morag Lawrence reminded delegates that the STUC warnings on austerity had all come true.

"Attacks on public service jobs, pay and pensions has seen the economy slide further into recession with little growth and increased borrowing", said Morag. The misery of unemployment continues. Cutting jobs and services has made things worse and putting more people on benefits has meant a loss of tax receipts. The STUC and UNISON had warned of all of this.

"And all the while the richest thousand people in the UK have seen their wealth increase by a massive £155 billion in the last three years. Enough to pay off the deficit with £30 billion left over", added Morag. "And boardroom pay has increased by 27% with an April Fools Day tax cut for the very wealthy."

"This is the problem", said Morag. "The country is not broke. The money is just in the wrong hands and that is getting worse.. We need to keep up the work to get that message across."

17 April 2013

top | STUC Index