Kezia Dugdale pitches to trade unions at STUC congress

Written by Tom Freeman on 18 April 2016 in News

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale tells STUC Congress she wants to "win change" while Nicola Sturgeon is scheduled to address the conference tomorrow

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has addressed the annual gathering of the Scottish Trades Unions Congress in Dundee, with just over two weeks to the Holyrood election.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is due to speak at the event tomorrow.

Dugdale said her party’s policies on taxation and public ownership of railways and ferries would echo the anti-austerity priorities of trade unionists.


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“Our historic alliance with the trade unions grew out of the same aim: to make sure that working people have a voice, yes, but more than that to make sure that working people have the power to change things.

Labour will give voice to working people in parliament,” she said.

UNISON’s Scottish organiser Dave Watson tweeted his approval. “Congress wanted to hear about Labour's plans, not a tribal attack on others. And they got it!” he said.

Launching the conference, STUC general secretary Grahame Smith called on party leaders to be bold and ambitious with the Scottish Parliament’s new responsibilities over income tax and welfare.

“Unfortunately, the campaign going on around us doesn't yet reflect the possibilities provided by new powers. Indeed, the nature and quality of debate suggests that it could take some time for our political parties to recognise that new opportunities exist, let alone grasp them,” he said.

Ahead of the conference the Scottish Greens’ Patrick Harvie said his party had answered the call. “Greens are the only party with an economic strategy based on bold commitments to invest in the transition toward the jobs of the future, while all the other parties refuse to acknowledge that change is already upon us and continue to pretend that the old economy will get back to business as usual.”

Elswhere at the STUC Congress the GMB lodged a motion calling for congress to back the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said she supported the trade union on the issue.

“I have met and listened to many traditional Labour supporters who see the common sense in renewing Trident. They are worried about the direction the party is now taking. My message to them is that me and my team will stand shoulder to shoulder with you on this issue.”

“Together we can make the case for preserving Britain's security and for protecting thousands of Scottish jobs.”

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