Devolution of employment law can give "beacon of hope" to UK workers, say SNP

In light of Brexit SNP MPs and trade union urge a challenge to Brexit from the left

CHRIS STEPHENS MP has revealed that the SNP would seek the devolution of employment law in any post-Brexit settlement as key to ensuring Scottish specific needs are met.

In a Trade Union Congress (TUC) meeting at the SNP conference chaired by Libby Brooks, the MP for Glasgow South West said that the measure would be crucial not just for people in Scotland but would “be a beacon of hope to workers across the UK.”

The general director of the TUC Frances O’Grady praised the SNP on its “broad-based approach to union support” as important in the battles of the controversial trade union laws and tribunals which have restricted workers negotiating and striking power.

“I support this, not just for protection of Scottish workers and the interests of those workers but to have a beacon of hope to workers across the UK.” Chris Stephens

Stephens said: “We would also seek the devolution of employment law because I believe when you look at the direction of travel of the Scottish parliament since devolution you can see it behaving in a consistently progressive manner. This is clear when you look at the pieces of legislation that have emerged so far compared to Westminster. 

“But I support this, not just for protection of Scottish workers and the interests of those workers but to have a beacon of hope to workers across the UK.”

The comments follow the concerns by trade unions, SNP and Labour MPs that the Tories cannot be trusted with workers’ rights.

“We would also seek the devolution of employment law because I believe when you look at the direction of travel of the Scottish parliament,since devolution, you can see it behaving in a consistently progressive manner.” Chris Stephens

Despite the debate about Brexit focusing on the single market, trade and business, union representatives have been keen to emphasise the list of workers’ rights that are under threat as a result of the vote to leave the European Union (EU). These range from access to paid holidays of up to at least 20 days which saw six million people in the UK benefit when the EU law was implemented. 

Frances O’Grady of the TUC added: “Wherever we are, we need to face down the racism that has reared its head. I know there is no place for it in the trade union movement our workplaces or society. Whether it is in Scotland or England or France, I know of no other way to express those democratic values, values of tolerance and united strength than in growing unions. 

“I’ll work with anyone to maintain this.”

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