UNISON branch officers have signed a declaration of support for an independent Scotland as a route to a fairer society and economy.
More than 40 delegates at their Brighton conference, from a variety of parties and none, including a dozen branch chairs and secretaries, signed the statement that describes their, “vision of a better and more stable world, freed from dominance by global corporations who have a stranglehold on the United Kingdom’s political system”.
UNISON Scotland, affiliated to Labour, has refused to fall in with the party’s No campaign, and instead produced a report called Fairer Scotland that recommends members choose the constitutional option most likely to achieve social justice.
Referring to the report, the members’ declaration says: “We believe that through self-determination we can begin to tackle inequality and create a Fairer Scotland whose human and natural assets will be used for the benefit of all rather than profit for a few.”
The declaration is published to coincide with Ed Miliband’s visit to Scotland. Labour members are among the signatories, demonstrating that more and more members believe a Yes vote can provide opportunities for the party and the trade union movement, as well as society as a whole.
Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor of Unison Scotland and Trade Union Liaison Officer for his local constituency Labour Party, said: “The kind of Labour Party we need to champion the interests of working people is more likely to develop in an independent Scotland than in the current UK. The Scottish trade unions have it in their power to make sure this happens.”
The case against austerity was also made by UNISON Scotland in its report published this week, ‘The cuts don’t work’, which describes the impact of the slash in spending.
Sarah Collins, a public sector solicitor, UNISON branch secretary and Chair of the STUC Youth Committee, said: “To build a fairer Scotland with strong public services for the next generation, we need to reverse austerity with investment powers that will come only with a Yes vote. Otherwise we face another raft of cuts backed by Miliband and Cameron, which Unison has said damage the lives of the vulnerable people in society.”
Diana Turbett, a UNISON member who is active in the Labour Party, said: “I am voting Yes because I believe a more equal and inclusive Scotland is possible. Westminster Labour has been pressured into an austerity agenda that is cutting services and leading to redundancies.
“I believe that Scotland becoming independent could halt the cuts and have a positive knock-on effect for the working people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and that an independent Scotland could play a role in promoting a more peaceful and fairer world.”