Labour launches 48-hour cap on working week proposals
Scottish Labour launches post-Brexit industrial strategy for Scotland to boost productivity and economic growth
Kezia Dugdale - David Anderson/Holyrood
A limit of 48 hours in the working week and a £10 minimum wage would boost Scotland’s productivity, Scottish Labour has argued.
In what the party has labelled an alternative industrial strategy, Labour proposes investment in skills and the workforce to boost the struggling economy.
The party predicts new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit will allow the introduction of new directives on working conditions.
- Scottish economy grows by 0.8% in first quarter of 2017
- Two-year Poverty and Inequality Commission launched by Nicola Sturgeon
As part of the EU, the UK opted out of the Working Time Directive which restricts working hours.
Brexit could provide an opportunity to work with businesses to build a new cap and ban zero hours contracts, argues Labour.
Leaving the EU could also allow for “different frameworks and ownership structures” to prevent so much of the country’s economic base being owned overseas, it said.
The party's finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: "Following Brexit, a UK or Scottish Government could consider ending current opt-outs which fail to deliver on our ambition for an inclusive economy."
The document also calls for dedicated ministers for both innovation and cities in the Scottish Government’s front bench.
Some proposals, such as the creation of a Scottish Investment Bank, would rely on a Labour government being in power at Westminster.
Launching the document at Italian aerospace and defence firm Leonardo, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Decline and deindustrialisation is not inevitable. We need to inspire a new generation of world-leading scientists and innovators to give our country the skills we all need to succeed.
“The SNP Government already has the powers to set Scotland on a different course to ensure we are at the cutting edge of the fourth industrial revolution.
“We need a Scottish Government with a plan for jobs and economic development, instead of one which sits back and leaves it entirely to the market. It is time for real change.”
The UK’s biggest trade union Unite called the document a “new and progressive vision”.
However, Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman said the strategy “lacked vision” compared to his party’s 2016 manifesto.
“Labour also don't seem to understand the meaning of the word 'sustainable' as to them this includes production of oil and gas, which climate science and economics tell us have to be kept in the ground,” he said.
“It's also a bit rich of Labour to warn of uncertainty caused by Brexit when their MPs last week failed to support moves to keep us in the single market.
“And we should remember that they stood in the way of employment law being devolved to Scotland during the Smith Commission negotiations.”
Speaking in Edinburgh the First Minister will argue that, with immigration essential to maintaining Scotland’s population, “the case for a different approach here is, to my mind, overwhelming”
A Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister “had made clear her commitment to getting a good deal”
Nicola Sturgeon accuses Jeremy Corbyn of attempting to “deliberately mislead people” over the prospect of continued single market access after the UK leaves the EU
In a new paper, Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment, the Scottish Government mapped out three possible outcomes from the UK’s negotiations over Brexit