Scotland

No to the "Swedish model"

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on sex work legislation, closing on 10 December. It follows a battle spearheaded by MSP Ash Denham, the government’s community safety minister, to introduce the criminalisation of the purchase of sex work (the “Nordic model”, or “Swedish model”, also implemented in France and Ireland). Currently in the UK, the purchase and selling of sex is legal, though various associated activities such as street work and workers operating from the same premises are not. National Ugly Mugs (an organisation that provides support and representation for...

Reinstate Richie Venton

The campaign to overturn the dismissal of Richie Venton — USDAW shop steward, USDAW convenor, and member of USDAW National Executive Council — continues, despite the lack of support from the leaders of his own union. Richie was sacked by his employer, IKEA, at the end of August. Richie had worked in the IKEA store in Braehead on the outskirts of Glasgow for twelve years, during which time he had built an effective trade union organisation in the store and achieved major improvements in working conditions. In the midst of the first lockdown IKEA informed union representatives of plans for major...

Scottish students set rent strikes

Student tenants across Scotland have begun to act after the botched return to Scottish universities. Despite the clear signs of a second wave, many universities have made students sign in to crowded rental accommodation. Predictably, this has led to outbreaks at universities, which are being dealt with by lockdowns and punitive measures against students. Aberdeen Student Tenants Union (@AberdeenTenant), Stirling Students Tenants Union (@StirlingTenant), and Glasgow Uni Rent Strike (@UofGRentStrike) have started to organise for student action. On Thursday 1 October at 5:30pm the National Union...

Scottish Labour - why did GMB abstain?

On the eve of the 12 September 2020 meeting of the Scottish Labour Party Executive Committee, Gary Smith, Regional Secretary of the GMB union, announced that the GMB would be abstaining on the motion of ‘no confidence’ in leader Richard Leonard. “Richard Leonard’s Own Union Refuses To Back Him Ahead of Leadership Vote,” read the headlines in the Scottish press. According to Smith: “At a time like this, our members would not thank us for getting bogged down in an internal Scottish Labour party issue, a party for which many of them no longer vote for.” “Bogged down”? But all the two GMB...

Scottish Labour: mobilise to push back

The campaign by the right wing of the Scottish Labour Party to oust Richard Leonard as leader, which began on the day he was elected in late 2017, reached a climax on 12 September with the tabling of a “no confidence” motion for an Executive Committee meeting. Signatories to the motion included Suzan King and James Adams, “representatives” of CLPs in Glasgow and Central Scotland. They had no mandate from members to have signed it and had made no attempt to obtain one. Other signatories to the motion who had no mandate and had made no attempt to obtain one included Jacqueline Martin (USDAW)...

Grades? Let the students into uni!

By a London Teacher

Scottish school students received grades for Nationals, Highers and Advanced Higher courses on Tuesday 4 August.

Grades had been estimated by schools after exams were cancelled due the Covid pandemic. 125,000 grades, or a quarter of the total, were lowered by the Scottish...

The inequalities are glaring

Katrina Faccenda is a Labour Party activist in Edinburgh and Labour candidate for the Scottish parliamentary seat of Edinburgh Northern and Leith. She talked with Sacha Ismail. This crisis has starkly highlighted all sorts of inequalities and made them glaring. Vulnerable people are now much more vulnerable – people in poverty, women, BAME communities. It’s an indicator not so much of how awful the pandemic is, as how dysfunctional our society was even before. At the same time, we’ve seen the power trade unions can have when they actually put their mind to it, winning victories and concessions...

Indicted for opposing cuts

Disciplinary proceedings have been initiated by the leadership of Glasgow City Council Labour Group against Matt Kerr, who is a candidate in the Scottish Labour Party deputy leader ballot running from 21 February to 2 April. At a City Council meeting a fortnight ago the minority SNP administration proposed a cuts budget. The Labour Group also proposed a cuts budget, with the usual homilies about it being "less painful", "the fault of Holyrood underfunding", "our cuts not as bad as yours", etc., etc. Matt, a Glasgow Labour councillor, decided that he could not vote for either of the cuts...

Scottish deputy: a clear choice

If only Scottish Labour could be as right-wing as it used to be, then people would vote for it again. This pretty much sums up the platform of Jackie Baillie MSP in her bid to be elected Scottish Labour Deputy Leader. But as the hustings in Glasgow on 17 February confirmed, this involves a breathtaking ability to deny reality. Baillie denied that housing legislation passed by the Labour-Lib-Dem Holyrood government (1999-2007) had extended the “right to buy” to Housing Association tenants. But it did. Baillie boasted that the same Holyrood coalition government had initiated a massive...

Mobilising for COP26 in Glasgow

About a hundred people attended the “Campaign against Climate Change” (CACC) conference in Glasgow on Saturday 1 February. There were speakers from a wide variety of different campaigns who spoke in the two sessions aimed at mobilising for COP26 in Glasgow in November this year. Key themes were 1) how to build for COP26 with a heavy focus on how to get more Trade Unions taking action for Green jobs, 2) a just transition to renewables, and 3) campaigning for Free Public Transport. Two school student strikers announced future school strike dates. They have received invites to speak at STUC...

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