So­cial­ists vow to keep fight­ing for work­ers

SSP: We’ll hold those in power to ac­count

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

The Ruther­glen branch of the Scot­tish So­cial­ist Party held a suc­cess­ful public meet­ing just days be­fore last week’s gen­eral elec­tion.

Around 30 peo­ple turned up to Springhall Com­mu­nity Cen­tre to hear guest speak­ers call on the main par­ties to put work­ing peo­ple first.

The meet­ing was chaired by Christine McVicar, Chair of SSP East Kil­bride Branch.

There were three main themes of the meet­ing: the con­tin­ued use of zero-hours con­tracts; poverty pay and benefits cuts; and the cam­paign for an im­me­di­ate £10 per hour min­i­mum way with non­nego­tiable equal pay for women.

Labour and the SNP were in the fir­ing line as Richie Ven­ton, the SSP’s na­tional work­place or­gan­iser set out his op­po­si­tion to zero hour con­tracts.

He said zero- hour con­tracts amounted to “mod­ern serf­dom,” and ac­cused the SNP and Labour of mak­ing “milk- and- wa­ter prom­ises,” on the is­sue. He added: “Both re­peat­edly talk of ‘tack­ling’, or ‘clamp­ing down’, on what both Labour and SNP in­sist on call­ing ‘ex­ploita­tive zero hours con­tracts’.

“When are they not ex­ploita­tive? Why not just pledge to abol­ish the lot, and bring in se­cure con­tracts with guar­an­teed hours, full-time or part-time?

“Labour has elab­o­rated they will in­tro­duce a sys­tem where af­ter 12 weeks of regular hours worked, that would be­come the con­tract hours.

“But what’s to stop em­ploy­ers dodg­ing such ‘regular hours’, or sim­ply shed­ding work­ers and re­plac­ing them af­ter 12 weeks - like the avoid­ance tac­tics used to­wards im­proved agency work­ers’ rights?

“The truth is it’s only be­cause some unions and the likes of the SSP have spear­headed per­sis­tent cam­paigns de­mand­ing £10 now, - for both men and women - and out­right abo­li­tion of zero hours con­tracts, that th­ese main­stream par­ties have gone as far as they have.”

Alan Milne, the baker’s trade union Scot­tish or­gan­iser, turned his at­ten­tion to the Tory party when dis­cussing poverty.

He said: “Poverty and in­equal­ity scar the face of Scot­land. A mil­lion peo­ple are on the bread­line - in­clud­ing 200,000 kids - in the 14th rich­est na­tion on Earth!

“Tory as­saults on benefits - of which many re­cip­i­ents are in work - have con­demned many peo­ple to hunger and des­ti­tu­tion.”

A spokesper­son for the lo­cal branch said af­ter­wards: “The public meet­ing took place whilst elec­tion sea­son was in full swing and while the SSP were only stand­ing in four seats across Scot­land, the party and it’s lo­cal branch are pay­ing close at­ten­tion to pro­ceed­ings so that they can hold who­ever is in power to ac­count when it comes to how they treat or­di­nary work­ing men and women.”

Like minded (from left) Richie Ven­ton SSP Na­tional Work­place Or­gan­iser, Christine McVicar Chair of SSP East Kil­bride Branch and Alan Milne of the Bak­ers Union at the meet­ing hosted by Ruther­glen SSP

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