Support workers beyond the pandemic
Work with unions to ensure a just recovery and a just transition.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and representatives from the Scottish unions led by STUC General Secretary Rozanne Foyer will meet later today (Thursday 12 August) to discuss key issues affecting workers as Scotland recovers from the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Issues such as the need for the UK government to expand the leave scheme and reverse plans for damaging universal credit cuts that will cost households more than £ 1,000 a year are on the agenda, as well that discussions on how to ensure workers’ needs are protected as the Scottish economy turns into net zero.
The Scottish government has written to the UK government seven times calling for the £ 20 per week increase in universal credit to be made permanent and extended to inherited benefits. An analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicates that the elimination of universal credit in late September will push 500,000 people across the UK, including 200,000 children, into poverty.
Speaking ahead of her biannual meeting with STUC, Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“We are committed to a just transition to net zero, ensuring we don’t leave individuals or communities behind – and we need to make sure we embed the same equity as we come out of the pandemic to deliver greater prosperity , greener and fairer as the economy recovers. Partnership with unions is essential to ensure that workers are represented in this process. Therefore, communication and collaboration between unions and government is absolutely essential.
“How we emerge from the pandemic – and support workers and employers throughout this economic recovery – will not only be critical to protecting the livelihoods of those hardest hit by the impacts of COVID, but will inform our work as we plan for a just transition to a net zero economy. As economic activity returns, businesses and workers will still need the support of leave plans as they recover. Our goal is to help them do that.
“However, not all the levers are in our hands, and the UK government urgently needs clarity on whether it will roll back its damaging social cuts plans, extend holidays and protect jobs as restrictions grow. will ease and the economy will recover. Otherwise, we need to see in detail what support will be put in place to ensure that those hardest hit by the economic impacts of COVID are not left behind. “
STUC General Secretary Rozanne Foyer said:
“We are meeting with the Prime Minister at a critical time. We are focused on building a recovery from COVID that creates a fairer Scotland with fair work as a driver of economic transformation and sustainable economic growth. To achieve this and achieve a just transition, we need to create well-paying, unionized green jobs in the public and private sectors.
“Our priorities include public sector pay, transport and a future Scottish National Care Service and we look forward to raising these issues with the Prime Minister.
“We share the Scottish Government’s call for an extension of the leave scheme, a £ 20 per week increase in universal credit and the devolution of additional borrowing powers to promote a fair recovery.”