Day three at the STUC is traditionally somewhat quieter in terms of policy. None the less a highlight this morning was the Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning. This year it was won by UNISON and Unite Learning Representatives and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. I always find the success of trade union learning particularly inspiring. They often give workers who didn’t do well at school the opportunity to benefit from a range of learning opportunities and represent what the trade union movement is all about.
We also heard from the First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP. Like Labour Leader Iain Gray yesterday, there was considerable substance to the speech when focussing on the joint work between the STUC and the Scottish Government. Colleagues from England visiting the STUC are always surprised at the level of joint working with the Parliament and Government in Scotland, irrespective of the party in power. Of course being Alex, the second half of his speech was a typical barnstorming performance promoting SNP positions in the election.
The STUC’s strong international links were once again on display in a series of debates on Europe, Palestine and other parts of the world in struggle. Sadly the restrictions on air travel limited the usual contributions from trade union representatives across the world to Congress.
The afternoon session was dominated by debates on the rise of the far right. The trade union movement has a proud record of opposing fascism in all its forms. The BNP vote in Scotland is not high, but we cannot afford to be complacent. Hope not Hate Scotland have all the campaign materials we need to challenge racists wherever they stand.