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Scottish TUC Congress ’19 Scotland's labour movement calls on SNP to establish a Defence Diversification Agency

SCOTLAND’S trade union movement called on SNP ministers today to establish a Defence Diversification Agency to promote a “fair and sustainable shift” away from nuclear weapons.

A motion passed at the Scottish TUC’s annual congress said the “main focus” of such a body “would be planning and resourcing the diversification of jobs away from defence projects, such as Trident replacement.”

Proposing the motion, Kilmarnock and Loudoun Trades Union Council delegate Arthur West said: “There’s a body of work [on defence diversification] there that needs to be built on, but it does require continued engagement from the trade union movement.”

He said a transition away from the nuclear industry, which is prominent in Scotland due to the presence of the Trident atomic weapons at Faslane, was “certainly [not] happening overnight.”

He added: “It goes without saying SD ... would be required to look at the skill set and expertise of those currently employed in the nuclear sector.”

But professionals’ union Prospect and general union GMB opposed the motion, saying it sent the wrong message to defence workers.

GMB Scotland delegate John Dolan, a Scotstoun shipyard convener, said: “This motion is not in the real world of work.

“These people have worked in these industries for years, keeping you, your children and your grandchildren safe.

“How many jobs have been created by defence diversification?

“This is a con. Where is the Saudi Arabia of renewables we were promised 10 years ago by Alex Salmond and the SNP government?”

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