MORAY’S MSP HAS faced local Trade Union members for a pre-Christmas grilling over a wide range of issues and concerns.
The Moray Trade Union Council invited the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary to the meeting – one of a series they will be continuing into the new year when Angus Robertson MP and the Chief Executive of Moray Council, Roddy Burns, will face a series of questions.
Following the meeting attended by Richard Lochhead MSP, the MTUC chairman John Leslie said: “It is always good to see our local MSP attending our meetings.
“As an active campaigning group we work hard to try and ensure that concerns and issues are regularly raised throughout the year via email and letters – but nothing beats a face to face meeting.
“We are very thankful to Richard for taking the time from what must be a hectic schedule to make time to meet with us and help us with moving forward our agenda for workers in Moray.”
Among the issues Mr Lochhead faced was concerns expressed by Marion Ross of the EIS, over the proposed new National Assessments. Mr Lochhead sought to reassure union members, saying that it was absolutely not the intention of the Scottish Government to return to the days of league tables and schools competing with each other.
Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership
Barry Jarvis from Unite as if the Cabinet Secretary shared concerns of many regions in Europe over the proposed Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership over if it could undermine protections – and if he did what the Scottish Government position was on the matter.
Mr Lochhead assured members he was aware of the concerns of many regions and highlighted the progress that Scotland has made with regards to gaining protected status for a number of its iconic brands.
It was confirmed that many of the Scottish Cabinet had been contacting the responsible Ministers in Westminster, raising concerns across a wide range of issues and stressed that at the moment it was difficult to really have any idea of potential impacts because of the secretive nature of discussions.
He reiterated that both he and his colleagues would continue to push to ensure that Westminster ministers would raise concerns at any discussions.
Mr Lochhead concluded that the Scottish Government had not ruled in or out of TTIP – but was actively seeking assurances on a number of areas where it had concerns and that any final decision would be based on the net impact on Scotland’s economy as a result of implementing the agreement.
Trade Union Bill
One of the final issues of the evening was raised by EIS members and regarded the Scottish Government position on the proposed Trade Union Bill from Westminster that has been universally rejected by unions and their members.
Mr Lochhead was clear that the Scottish Government and many other members of the Scottish Parliament were completely against the Bill being imposed on Scotland, despite the overwhelming majority of Scottish MP’s voting against it.
He explained that following legal advice to the Presiding Officer it had been determined that the issue was outside the powers of the parliament, but that the Scottish Government would continue to do all it could to raise the very real concerns of Scottish Trade Unionists about the hugely detrimental impact that its implementation would have on their activities.