Thursday 19 June 2014

The kind of Scotland we want to see

#uNDC14 UNISON Scotland's position on the forthcoming independence referendum in Scotland was backed overwhelmingly by delegates, after speakers queued up to lend their support.

Some of our colleagues in England and Wales seemed a bit wistful about the debate taking place north of the border and the young members welcomed the vote being extended to 16 and 17 year olds.

Lilian Macer, Scotland's Convener, told delegates that UNISON in Scotland hasn't signed up to either campaign, "not because we care less than anyone else about what happens, but because we have an idea about the kind of Scotland we want to see.

"One where money spent on public services isn't seen as a cost but an investment. Where a workforce that cares, cures and educates is acknowledged as an achievement and valued within our society and not seen as a drain on valuable resources.

"We want to tackle inequalities, poor health and deprivation....As a trade union it's social change that matters for us. Our approach has been driven by the interests of our members and the services they deliver.

“This is a great opportunity for us in Scotland to raise the issues around creating a more socially just, equal society and people in Scotland and union members are seizing the opportunity to engage in a real political debate.

“As a union we are challenging both sides of the debate to demonstrate to us how they can deliver that fairer Scotland which values public services and the people who provide them.

"And it is right that the people who live in Scotland determine their own destiny on 18th September this year.”

However, she pledged that regardless of the outcome of the referendum, there will be common interests between union members in Scotland and throughout the UK.

"We will continue to seek to build the strongest possible trade union for the benefit of all UNISON members in these four nations."

This was echoed by Jane Carolan, speaking for the NEC and supporting Scotland's position. She referred to the late Bob Crow, who, as General Secretary of the RMT once observed of his union, "Whether you are a ticket inspector on the Virgin Intercity or a sea farer in Hong Kong, what matters is that you are in the union."

"We may face different governments, different policies, but our union principles remain the same," added Jane, commending UNISON Scotland's position.

"On 18th September we each individually have a decision to take. We each have a responsibility to consider not just what is best for us but for future generations; for our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren. We are each entitled to our opinion and to cast our vote accordingly. To do so, we need information, not propaganda."

Dundee's Arthur Nicoll and Edinburgh's Duncan Smith also spoke in support.

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