Gray gaffe as he attacks SNP redundancy protection plan

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by G.A. Ponsonby

Labour’s front man Iain Gray was involved in another election campaign blunder after he attacked the SNP’s plan to avoid compulsory public sector redundancies.

The Opposition leader labelled the move a “deception” and claimed that no party could offer deals that guarantee no compulsory redundancies, despite one local authority already signing up to the SNP’s deal.

Gray’s attack followed an announcement last month by First Minister Alex Salmond who promised no compulsory redundancies in the public sector if the SNP were re-elected.

The First Minister told delegates at last month’s SNP conference in Glasgow: “If people have the fear of compulsory redundancy removed, then they are able to plan and to spend for the future of themselves and their families.

“If the people return me as First Minister then I will secure that prize – of no compulsory redundancies – and the economic security that that deal would bring.”

In a statement Gray insisted that Labour would try to protect jobs but admitted his party could offer no such promise of job security. He said: “What I wouldn’t do is to pretend to the Scottish public that I have an agreement that there will be no compulsory redundancies in the public sector, because that is simply not the case.”

However last month Scottish Borders Council became the first local authority to agree on a deal to avoid compulsory redundancies, in exchange for its staff agreeing to a three-year-pay freeze.

The council reached an agreement based on SNP pledges of a minimum hourly rate of £7.15 for workers and a pay freeze for staff earning more than £21,000.