MSP calls on Labour to support SNP demand for devolution of employment legislation

South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine today appealed to the Labour party to support the SNP’s demand for the devolution of employment legislation.

Her call comes in the wake of a debate around the Tories’ controversial Trade Union Bill which last week passed its second reading in the House of Commons despite furious criticism.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:

“The protection of workers’ fundamental right to organise should be at the heart of any modern democracy.

“The SNP strongly opposes the Trade Union Bill and recognises that it is an excessive, Dickensian piece of legislation.”

Every one of the 56 SNP MPs signed a ‘reasoned amendment’ to try and sink the Trade Union Bill when it was put to the house last week at Westminster.

The regressive Bill will impose higher voting thresholds in strike ballots, end the ban on the use of agency workers during strikes, and introduce restrictions on picketing and protesting.

Ms McAlpine said:

“Working people have come under a sustained ideological assault from the Tories in Westminster.

“The anti-democratic Trade Union Bill is just the latest affront to hard-won employees’ rights and will serve only to put good industrial relations in jeopardy.”

Last week First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave a detailed outline of the Scottish Government’s position on the Trade Union Bill and its potential impact on employment in Scotland.

She confirmed that the Scottish Government will do everything in its powers to minimise any impact that the legislation might have once it is passed.

Ms McAlpine responded:

“I strongly welcome the First Minister’s assurances that the Scottish Government will work to minimise the impacts of the Trade Union Bill.

“But as long as employment law remains under the control of Westminster, workers in Scotland remain vulnerable to ideologically-driven attacks on their democratic rights – by a party they didn’t vote for.”

Ms McAlpine is now calling upon the Labour party to support the SNP’s calls for the devolution of employment law.

She said:

“In all their time in Government, Labour did not reverse a single Tory anti trade union law.

“I am now calling on Labour to end their woeful record and support the SNP’s demand for the devolution of employment legislation.

“If employment legislation was devolved, the people of Scotland could decide for themselves how best to protect employees’ right to have their voice heard.”

The MSP’s comments followed a meeting of the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee today where she questioned the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) during an inquiry into employment and wellbeing in the Scottish labour market. Ms McAlpine was “extremely disappointed” that the CBI is backing the Tories’ Trade Union Bill.


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