ATUC highlights impact of austerity and calls for greater democracy in higher education
George Thomson, Morag Lawrence and Nathan Morrison represented Aberdeen Trades Union Council at the 116th STUC Annual Congress which was held in Perth Concert Hall from Tuesday 16 – Thursday 18 April, 2013.
Aberdeen Trade Union Council put forward three motions to the Congress. Morag Lawrence spoke on the composited motion on the Economy.
Morag reminded delegates that the STUC warnings on austerity had all come true.
“Attacks on public service jobs, pay and pensions have seen the economy slide further into recession with little growth and increased borrowing”, said Morag.
The misery of unemployment continues. Cutting jobs and services has made things worse and putting more people on benefits has meant a loss of tax receipts. The STUC and UNISON had warned of all of this, said Morag.
“And all the while the richest thousand people in the UK have seen their wealth increase by a massive £155 billion in the last three years. Enough to pay off the deficit with £30 billion left over”, she added.
“And boardroom pay has increased by 27% with an April Fools’ Day tax cut for the very wealthy.
“This is the problem”, said Morag. “The country is not broke. The money is just in the wrong hands and that is getting worse. We need to keep up the work to get that message across.”
Nathan Morrison spoke to the ATUC motion on Higher Education, which was merged with a motion from the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU). Nathan called for greater democracy in HE governance including “the representation of trade unions on governing committees” alongside other measures proposed by the Von Prondzynski Report on HE Governance. The STUC will now press for the report to be implemented in full.
Unfortunately, George Thomson had to return home before the end of the Congress. The ATUC motion calling for a Scottish Pensioners’ Parliament, which he was to speak to, was again deferred following discussion with the Scottish Pensioners’ Forum, whose primary aim is for a Pensioners’ Commissioner.
The ATUC also submitted an Emergency motion on Venezuela, calling for support for the new government elected following the death of Hugo Chavez. This was put together with another motion on this subject and supported by delegates.
"All in all I had a great time at the Congress and enjoyed the experience," said Morag.