Treaty of the unions: Bid for workers’ anti-indy backing
By ANDREW NICOLL Scottish Political Editor Published: 22nd April 2013
THE Scottish Labour leadership yesterday openly courted the trade unions in a bid to win their backing against independence.
Both leader Johann Lamont and her deputy Anas Sarwar moved to woo workers into voting No in next year’s referendum.
In the closing session of the Scottish Labour conference in Inverness, Mr Sarwar blasted SNP backing for big business. He called for an inquiry into what he called the “ugly years” when thousands of alleged troublemaking union activists were denied jobs.
Delegates also heard Ms Lamont commit to working “hand-in-hand” with unions and offer a rethink on anti-union legislation.
Referring to bosses’ notorious Consulting Association list which was closed down in 2009 by the Information Commissioner’s Office, MP Mr Sarwar said: “We have to have a full inquiry into what happened to workers in those ugly years.”
Unions are seeking compensation for those blacklisted. Fewer than 10 per cent know they were on the list. Ms Lamont offered a further olive branch saying: “We need to review trade union legislation. We shouldn’t have rules applying to trade unions that don’t apply to others.
“My commitment is absolutely to work hand-in-hand with the trade unions.”
In a swipe at the Scottish Government, Mr Sarwar added: “When people are struggling to feed themselves, what they see is multi-national, multi-million pound companies making huge profits, paying not a penny in tax but being rewarded.
“Amazon was rewarded not with scorn and condemnation but with millions of pounds in government grants.
“That’s not just economic immorality on the part of the company, it’s political immorality on the part of the SNP.”
But union boss Pat Rafferty, of Unite, warned Labour not to count on workers’ support in the independence poll, telling the conference: “Our members won’t be bounced into taking sides.”
Last night, a spokesperson for the pro-independence Yes Scotland group said: “More and more Labour voters are saying they will vote Yes as they realise Westminster isn’t working for them..”
Please don't pronounce it "anus" just beacuse I'm thick