A Labour Party meeting this evening in Glasgow for trade union members. This is an opportunity for members in this constituency to quiz the Scotland Office Minister Ann McKechin and me. I am doing a number of these meetings across Scotland as Secretary of the Scottish Trade Union Labour Party Committee (STULP), in the run up to the UK general election.
Members are rightly critical of some aspects of government policy and it is important that we recognise that fact. It is our job to represent these concerns to ministers through the party structures and ministers will acknowledge that we do that at every opportunity.
Equally it is important to give credit for the benefits a Labour government at UK level has brought to Scotland and in particular to workers. Union recognition, safety legislation, protection for pensions and the minimum wage are just a few. There is always a real understanding at these meetings that a Tory government would put these gains at risk. By pulling the UK out of the EU social chapter, paid holidays, parental leave, pay equality and even basic employment rights would be at risk. The latest proposal is to remove even health and safety inspections through a system of self regulation. Tonight’s meeting is not far from the Stockline plastics factory explosion where nine workers died and many more seriously injured. Self regulation doesn’t wash here.
Despite this understanding just not being the Tories is not enough. If union members are to turn out to vote in large numbers they need to be inspired by a Labour Party that is in tune with our traditional socialist values.