SNP has let workers down on fair pay, says Labour leader Richard Leonard

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has hit out at what he says is the latest failure by the SNP Government to stand up for Scottish workers. Picture: John Devlin
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has hit out at what he says is the latest failure by the SNP Government to stand up for Scottish workers. Picture: John Devlin
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Workers in Scotland have been let down by the “failure” of the Scottish Government to publish a national action plan on fair work, Labour leader Richard Leonard has said.

Ministers had pledged to unveil the Scotland-wide blueprint to safeguard worker’s rights by the end of last year.

But they failed to bring forward any proposals which was to have included plans for a “fair work congress” ensuring input from a wide range of experts.

Leonard says it marks the latest failings by the SNP Government to “stand up for Scottish workers”.

He said: “Scotland desperately needs a plan to deliver fair work to protect our workforce from unscrupulous bosses and insecure work.

“The SNP Government has failed to publish its fair work action plan at the same time as trying to cut trade unions out of pay negotiations and failing to pay the living wage. That tells you everything you need to know about its priorities.

“Labour was founded by the trade unions and will always protect and promote workers’ rights.

“We will put workers at the heart of our plans to revive our industries, ban zero-hours contracts and create the high-wage, high-skill jobs of the future.”

Over the past year, the SNP Government has come under significant pressure over public sector pay. Education Secretary John Swinney has been criticised over claims he sought to bypass trade unions in pay negotiations by writing directly to teachers during the pay ballot.

It has also emerged that Prestwick Airport – which has been bought over by the taxpayer, but is run at arm’s length from the Scottish Government – was not paying the living wage. Labour also says that ministers contract construction companies caught up in the blacklisting scandal for major public infrastructure projects.

But the Scottish Government has insisted it is doing everything possible to promote fair working practices, despite employment law being reserved to Westminster.

Scottish ministers say they “actively champion” the living wage, with a target of 25,000 more people to receive this by 2020 as part of the “living Wage Nation” drive. The Scottish Government does not employ anyone on zero-hours contracts.

A £750,000 Workplace Equality Fund has also been established to help reduce employment inequalities, discrimination and barriers for minority ethnic people, women, disabled people and older workers.