ANTI-TRIDENT campaigners were said last night to be “very hopeful” that their bid to get the Scottish Labour Party to come out against renewing the missile system would succeed.
Today, delegates and trade unions will vote on a motion specially drafted to win over as many people as possible by addressing concerns about defence jobs.
The motion to be debated in today’s crucial vote was published yesterday. It makes a strong case for protecting jobs that could be vulnerable should the new missile system not be brought to the Clyde.
In his speech to conference, the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made a huge play of the importance of saving jobs if conference backs his own anti-nuclear weapons stance. Trident renewal has become a key issue for Labour under Corbyn’s leadership.
Corbyn favours unilateral disarmament, but the UK party’s official position is for multilateral disarmament – only giving up nuclear weapons if other countries do so as well. The Scottish arm of the party could take a different view today from UK Labour if delegates and trade unions support a motion to scrap Trident.
Drawn up by anti-nuclear campaigners in nine Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), it attempts to address Corbyn’s concerns about jobs – an approach also designed to bring the trade unions on board.
Last night one Labour member, who had helped to draft the motion, said “it looked as though” the motion would go through, adding: “We are very hopeful.” Trade unions account for 50 per cent of the vote, with CLPs accounting for the other 50 per cent.
The GMB union has signalled it will oppose the motion on the grounds that it has to look after the interests of its members who work at Faslane.
Unison, one of Scotland’s largest unions, has indicated it intends to support the motion’s anti-nuclear stance – as has Unite, provided there are assurances on jobs.
The motion says Britain should abandon its plans to spend billions of pounds on a new generation of nuclear weapons. But it also “recognises the genuine and understandable concerns of workers engaged in Trident-related work” regarding job security.
The motion adds: “Prior to any decision to cancel Trident, firm commitments must be made to trade unions representing defence workers on the retention of defence workers’ jobs and recognises that until they receive firm commitments to this end, trade unions will continue to support the continuity of employment of their members.”