The STUC Congress has voted in support of a motion stating that the Scottish Parliament should have the power to hold a referendum on Scotland’s future and should not require UK Government consent. It also restated its view the Westminster Government should not resist a second vote if a majority of pro-independence MSPs are elected alongside a clear preference among the Scottish people for a second vote.
However, it was also clear from Congress that the priority of the trade union movement in the period ahead is for a People’s Recovery and that this should be the Parliament’s immediate priority too. In a statement from the General Council prior to the vote, attention was drawn to the opposition from a majority of the Scottish people to a referendum taking place in the first half of the Parliament.
This statement also rejects the pursuit of a super-majority for independence in the next Parliament through tactical manoeuvring. This would undermine the sovereignty of the Scottish people who remain broadly divided on the question of independence. A pro-independence majority of MSPs is categorically not a mandate to negotiate independence without a second referendum.
STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said: “Our vote today has re-affirmed the right of the Scottish people to self-determination and recognised that as the central democratic institution in Scotland, our Parliament should have the power to determine whether and when to hold a second referendum.
“We have also made clear that any future referendum need not be confined to a binary choice if a meaningful third option is developed.
“But we have also asserted that economic and social recovery is our priority, and that radical policy is needed to achieve that in a way that redresses current imbalances of power and wealth. We will hold to account all parties of all political colours who take their eye off that ball.
“As a movement of over half a million people we naturally have divergent views on the outcome of any future referendum. We have resolved today to actively consult with our members and to play a leading role within Scottish civil society in this crucial debate.”