UK Union to engage in referendum debate but remain neutral


By G.A.Ponsonby
Prospect, the largest union in the UK representing professional engineers, has informed its members of its intention to engage in the Scottish independence debate.
In a circular sent out to Scottish members on 7th August, the union confirmed it will take part in the constitutional debate but that it will “remain absolutely neutral”.

The union says it will play a role in the debate over Scotland’s future, particularly from an industrial point of view.

Members were informed that at their National Executive Committee in July, it was decided Prospect would set up a Scotland Committee – to be chaired by Deputy Vice President Craig Marshall, who also works for EDF Energy in Scotland.  The Scotland Committee is to have membership drawn from nominations received through Branches of members living and working in Scotland in each of the following broad “Sectors”:

  • Aviation
  • Defence
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Government
  • Health and Safety
  • Heritage
  • Science and Telecoms

The communication, sent out by national Secretary Anne Douglas, informed Scottish members that many questions remain unanswered but acknowledged the debate had begun.

Ms Douglas added: “It was agreed that Prospect should not seek to replicate work already being done in terms of the future of Scotland from either an economic or social perspective, but rather use our links with the Scottish Trades Union Congress to allow Prospect to engage in that debate.”

Prospect members were also notified that the Scottish TUC were holding an online consultation to allow individuals and organisations to submit views on Scotland’s constitutional future.
A new website “A Just Scotland” has been set up with the aim of achieving “the social justice outcomes with which the STUC and other partners in broader civic Scotland are associated”.

The website states: “We support the Future of Scotland initiative which seeks to promote a wide ranging and free debate on Scotland’s future and we start from the assumption that the majority of Scots wish to see a more equal and socially just Scotland.”

Additionally, the STUC has set up a number of events to discuss several themes and including:

  • Tax Justice and Sustainable Growth
  • Decent Welfare and Public Services for All
  • International Relations and Peace
  • Better Environment
  • Stronger Communities
  • Equality and Human Rights
  • Education, Participation and Citizenship

The events will be held on the following dates and at the listed venues: