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Scottish Trades Union Congress 2020 Trade unionists praise Scotland's workers as the ‘backbone of the response’ to Covid-19

Much of the pandemic's most ‘catastrophic’ effects are still to come, congress hears

TRADE unionists have praised Scottish workers as the “backbone of the response” to coronavirus, warning of the pandemic’s “catastrophic” fallout which is still to come. 

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) hosted a debate today on the Covid-19 crisis and the effects it has had on those in Scotland. 

In a special statement circulated ahead of the annual congress, the STUC called for a “continued emphasis on public health and workplace safety” as the crisis continues. 

Representatives from across the trade union movement backed these calls, and offered solidarity to those who have been left unemployed, at risk and seriously ill as a result of political decisions. 

Pauline Rourke of the Communication Workers’ Union said that there had never “been such an important time to be part of a trade union,” warning that activists “know only too well that what lies ahead could be catastrophic.” 

Ms Rourke, who also sits on the STUC’s general council, praised the response from those on the frontline. 

“At every turn” the STUC has made the case for a “safety-first response” and government intervention, she added, reiterating the importance of trade unions in holding ministers to account. 

Concerns were also raised by representatives from Unite, Unison, the University and College Union (UCU) and Edinburgh Trades Union Council, particularly relating to the hardest-hit groups.

Charmaine Blaize of the UCU warned that black workers found themselves most at risk and in “bad jobs,” pointing to moves within the union to promote fair and safe work. 

The discussion comes as the government announced that 11 council areas will now be under Scotland’s highest levels of coronavirus restrictions for three weeks.

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