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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Melville

Speech: Defending Workers' Rights

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Provost, I support this motion wholeheartedly, and I commend Cllr Scott (Independent) and Cllr Doran (Labour) for bringing it forward.

The Minimum Service Levels Bill and the EU Retained Law Bill are draconian pieces of legislation designed by the Tory Westminster Government to put workers’ rights on the scrap heap.

They drive a sledgehammer through the universal, fundamental rights to strike, to fair treatment, and reasonable working hours.

Don’t take my word for it - listen to stakeholders.

UNISON has called the EU Retained Law Bill a “bonfire of workers’ rights.”

And Thomsons Solicitor’s said: “Nobody signed up to giving Ministers in Westminster free rein to abolish, or ‘re-state’, workplace rights like paid annual leave, parental leave, and protections on transfer of undertakings.”

Provost, these Bills are disgraceful, and they must be opposed.

Make no mistake about this.

This is a systematic attack on the rights of every worker - including staff who work for this Council.

All of us should today stand up for the rights of those workers.

We are faced by a Tory UK Government intent on ripping up precious workplace protections.

An out-of-touch Tory Government, desperately seeking to make life worse and less secure for working class people.

A tale as old as time, Provost.

But, I must say, I am disappointed in the supposed alternative too.

Because on the third reading of the EU Retained Law Bill – this Bill that threatens the protections at work we all cherish, Keir Starmer - the Leader of the Labour Party – didn’t bother to turn up and vote against it.

Now, all of us on the Administration support this motion.

And the Scottish Parliament has refused legislative consent to the Bills.

But we are facing their imposition regardless.

And so I appeal to the non-aligned members here, and to the wider public of Angus.

Wouldn’t it be better to have decisions over workers’ rights and protections made here in Scotland, and not in a crumbling Palace on the Thames, by governments we don’t elect?

Provost, if Scotland was independent today, we wouldn’t have to write letters to a Tory Prime Minister we didn’t vote for.

We’d just get on with enhancing workers’ rights and building a better country.


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