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STUC Congress 2024 Scottish Trades Union Congress fails to back no-cuts motion

CUTS across Scottish councils dominated the Scottish Trades Union Congress in Dundee today — but calls to back no-cuts budgets have fallen.

From the ongoing battles for equal pay to local authority funding, delegates from across the Scotland’s public sector joined forces with local trades councils to take aim at Scottish government cuts which have led to tens of thousands of job losses over the last 15 years.

Clydebank TUC tabled a motion calling for the movement to back no-cuts budgets in councils, stating: “Congress believes through campaigning such a strategy could win wide support and cause a political crisis for the austerity policies of government and the tame councillors who have meekly managed decline.”

The motion did not win the backing of the general council however, who questioned the legality of such a move and called for the formulation of a “practical” strategy to oppose the cuts.

North Lanarkshire, Fife and Dundee trades union councils nonetheless backed their Clydebank colleagues with impassioned speeches in defence of council workers and services.

Fife’s Tam Kirby challenged the general council’s call for a pause to consider strategy, telling delegates: “What we have done so far hasn’t bloody worked!

“They say you canny break the law … the entire labour and trade union movement is built on breaking the law and we need a return to that.

“Let’s find out what side the politicians are on!”

Dundee’s Stuart Fairweather referred to STUC president Mike Arnott’s address earlier in the day where, quoting a predecessor, he said: “We councillors should not be passive administrators of a cuts package determined elsewhere, but champions of their areas, authorities and the services their local populations rely on.”

Closing the debate, Clydebank’s Janet Cassidy told Congress: “This motion may well be defeated, but the clamour for a political challenge will not go away.”

Ms Cassidy’s prediction proved accurate when, despite the backing of most trades councils, the motion was defeated in a card vote.

Speaking to the Star after the result, fellow Clydebank TUC delegate, Tam Morrison told the Star: “We cannot go on as we are, with union branches calling for and end to cuts to their services, and politicians shrugging their shoulders and passing cuts.

“Asking nicely hasn’t worked, and the partnership approach hasn’t stopped 30,000 jobs being lost in our services.

“We might not have won the vote today, but our case is unanswerable.

“It’s now up to the grassroots to end these cuts once and for all.”


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