Scottish Labour reaffirms support for trade unions – SEC report-back from youth members Coll McCail and Lauren Harper


“Highlighting that 2022 had been a difficult year for members, affiliated unions and the public at large, Sarwar reaffirmed Scottish Labour’s commitment to tackle the cost of living crisis.”

Scottish Labour’s Executive Committee Youth Representatives Coll McCail and Lauren Harper report-back from the latest meeting of the SEC.

The Scottish Executive met for the first time since the new year on the 14th of January. Anas Sarwar’s opening leadership report began with reflections on the year just gone. Highlighting that 2022 had been a difficult year for members, affiliated unions and the public at large, Sarwar reaffirmed Scottish Labour’s commitment to tackle the cost of living crisis.

Anas said that recent improvements in polling provided Scottish Labour with a strong foundation as we approach the beginning of the next general election campaign. He added that people now believed that Labour could win the next general election and that this was reflected in recent positive polling. The leader emphasised that Scottish Labour’s priorities in 2023 had to focus firmly on communicating why the Party deserves to win, pushing our solutions to the NHS and cost of living crisis.

Anas said he was proud of the support the Scottish Labour Party had given to trade unions in 2022 and reaffirmed that this support would continue into the new year.

Given the Party’s focus in 2023, I asked what considerations had been given to adopting the recommendations of the STUC’s ‘Options for increasing taxes in Scotland to fund investment in public services’ report as Scottish Labour policy. Noting the importance of the report and its recommendations, Anas said that he had a meeting with the STUC General Secretary upcoming where the report would be discussed and that he would feed back.

The Scottish Parliament report highlighted the ongoing work of the MSP group. The SEC heard that the Scottish Government had formally committed to taking forward Alex Rowley’s Passivhaus bill which will provide new minimum environmental design standards for all new build housing.

Ian Murray provided the SEC with a report on the work of the Westminster PLP and highlighted the ongoing failings of the Tory government, focusing on their latest attack on the trade union movement. Murray said that Gordon Brown’s work on the constitution had landed very well and pointed to the fact it offers a new narrative to take us away from binary arguments.

I took the opportunity to raise comments made by Jonothan Ashworth earlier that week which committed the Labour Party to maintain benefit sanctions were we to win the next general election. Benefit sanctions have consistently been proven to ruin lives and the suggestion a Labour government would maintain this cruel measure is infuriating. In response, Ian Murray suggested that taken in its entirety, Ashworth’s speech represented the Labour Party’s focus on getting people back into the Labour market.

The local government report highlighted the threat another round of Holyrood austerity posed to councils across Scotland. It was emphasised that current funding barely allows for the running of essential services.

The General Secretary’s report provided the SEC with an update on recent successes, particularly in the Linn and Broxburn byelections. On selections, the GS confirmed the Party aims to have 13 Westminster candidates in place before conference.

Importantly, the SEC also approved papers that will progress the process of reaffiliation for Scottish Labour Students. Lauren sits on the Organisation sub-committee of the SEC and has been helping to draft the new constitution for SLS which would integrate the organisation back into the Party structures. This document was approved by the SEC and will now go to the upcoming Scottish conference for approval.

The SEC will next meet prior to the Scottish Labour conference, which commences on the 17th of February.

  • Coll McCail & Lauren Harper are Youth Representatives on the Labour Party’s Scottish Executive Committee (SEC). Any questions or issues young members would like raised at future meetings, please contact Coll and Lauren by email.  
  • You can follow Coll McCail on twitter here; and follow Lauren Harper here.
  • Lauren Harper submitted her apologies to this meeting on account of a poor internet connection.
Featured image: Scottish Executive Committee Youth Representatives Coll Coll McCail & Lauren Harper.

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