Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), has today written to Bruce Crawford MSP, the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business and Government Strategy, urging the Scottish Parliament to reconsider its decision to meet on the 30th November, the STUC Day of Action for Pensions Justice.
The letter is reproduced below:-
I am very disappointed at the decision yesterday to schedule business for the Scottish Parliament Chamber on 30th November 2011.
Notwithstanding our concern that action which could have been taken by the Scottish Government to mitigate the effect of increases in pension contributions has not been forthcoming, I fully recognise and applaud the very clear statements in general support of pensions’ justice which have been made by the First Minister, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and other members of the Government. I am also aware of the significant support for our case from individual SNP MSPs.
By scheduling business on 30 November, you are placing MSP's who are supportive of the action being taken in the difficult position of having to cross picket lines at the Scottish Parliament or be absent from the Chamber. It would have been preferable had MSPs been entirely free to demonstrate their support for our day of action in the communities they represent thus enabling maximum unity to be fostered.
November 30 2011 is not a normal day, nor a normal strike. The historic action being taken is almost unprecedented and covers over 300,000 workers in Scotland. Most of these people, two thirds of whom are women, will never have taken such action before.
We are confident of our case, and keen to see pensions debated regularly and in depth in the Parliament Chamber. However there is no overriding reason why the Government could not instigate a debate on the issue on another day close to 30 November.
I therefore urge you to reconsider the decision to schedule business for 30th November, and to enable MSPs and staff who so wish to respect picket lines and to stand in solidarity with their constituents across Scotland.
I would very much welcome the opportunity to meet you to discuss this matter.
As this matter is of considerable public interest I have released this letter to the media.
Grahame Smith General Secretary
For further information contact Kevin Buchanan 0141 337 8100