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TRADE UNIONISTS today slammed claims by the new Scottish Tory leader that he would push for “fairness” in the workplace.
Jackson Carlaw told a room of supporters in Edinburgh that he would look to work with trade unions in his new role, following his victory today over Michelle Ballantyne.
Mr Carlaw, who won more than 75 per cent of the members’ votes, said that this move would be part of a policy shift ahead of next year’s Holyrood elections.
The Eastwood MSP claimed that he would be looking to speaking to a range of groups as part of this policy review, including trade unions across Scotland.
He said: “Some of those conversations will be difficult, some will no doubt be underpinned by suspicion.”
The statement has sparked heavy criticism, with leaders in Scotland’s trade-union movement pointing out contradictory messaging from the Scottish Tories.
The Tory policy review could mean a U-turn on the party’s opposition to free higher education in Scotland and its position on the two-child benefits cap brought in by the Conservatives in Westminster.
He hopes that the changes will help the Tories persuade new voters across Scotland as he seeks to unseat Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister in 2021.
Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) deputy general secretary Dave Moxham said: “The STUC will represent workers’ interests to any party, including the current party of government.
“However, in any discussion or negotiations, high on our agenda will always be to create good-quality jobs and to tackle poverty and inequality.
“We also need genuine trade-union freedom. The Conservative Party can’t on one hand offer to engage with unions whilst, on the other, limiting our abilities to operate effectively.”
Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “Jackson Carlaw has zero credibility on workers’ rights and trade-union issues.
“He has consistently voted against taking action on zero-hours contracts, supports privatisation, said nothing about the Tory trade-union Bill, or blacklisting, or the Living Wage and numerous other issues affecting working people.
“Carlaw is just like every other Scottish Tory — a boss’s stooge.”
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