The announcement was made in Inverness by Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, as part of the Scottish Government’s formal response to the Working Together review.
The Cabinet Secretary has highlighted the importance of having strong Trade Unions as key social partners that have an important role to play with employees and their employers, an essential component when developing more equal, fairer and productive work places.
During a visit to the Inverness leisure centre the Cabinet Secretary learned about the centre’s trade union good practices and the implementation of the Living Wage.
She said: “Last year’s Working Together review – led by Jim Mather – set out a clear view as to how a more collaborative and productive relationship could be developed, based on more inclusive dialogue between employers and employees.
“Since the report was published, The Scottish Government has implemented a number of changes, the first of those being the creation of my own post as Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work Skills and Training and the establishment of Fair Work Convention. The Convention has now met four times, and it has set its remit to deliver a blueprint for what Fair Work should look like in Scotland, by the end of March 2016.
“We have been clear in our support for the recommendations of the Working Together Review and work has been continuing in a number of areas. This formal response announced today now gives me the opportunity to set out how we are taking the recommendations forward in the context of the new focus on Fair Work.
“We believe a modern and progressive approach to industrial relations and to trade unionism is at the very heart of being able to achieve Fair Work. I am delighted to announce funding of £100,000 to the STUC to help them develop the capacity of Trade Union representatives through leadership and equality programmes some of the key the recommendations of the review.
“Fair Work means that everyone should be entitled to expect access to the labour market, job security, fair reward, opportunities for personal development, and a say in how their workplace operates. It means that access to work and progress in the workplace should be on an equitable basis, and people should not be disadvantaged by background or circumstance.
“This Government is committed to creating a more equal society and we will only be fairer and more successful when we end the blight of low pay and when all employers see their employees as assets in which to invest, to nurture and grow.”
The Cabinet Secretary was joined by Grahame Smith, General Secretary of STUC at the leisure centre visit. He said: “The Scottish Government’s very positive response to the recommendations of the Review demonstrates an appreciation of the progressive role of trade unions which stands in stark contrast to the vindictive approach of the Westminster Government.
“While the UK Government’s Trade Union Bill starts from the false premise that unions are bad and our activities need to be curtailed, the Scottish Government has actively sought to promote the very constructive role unions’ play in the workplace and in the wider economy and civil society in reducing inequality and poverty and improving productivity and economic success.
“Through the Fair Work Convention, the creation of which was the central recommendation of the Review, unions, employers and Government in Scotland have the opportunity work together to establish a distinctive approach to industrial relations and fair employment practices in the UK, akin to the approach in the most successful European economies.”
James Martin, Chief Executive at the multi-award winning Inverness Leisure centre, said: “I am delighted that the Cabinet Secretary has decided to visit Inverness Leisure to see the work we are undertaking across our organisation. Employing over 150 members of staff at the centre, we are obviously one of the largest individual employers in the city. I am extremely proud of the work we have undertaken in terms of our staff relations, having most recently become a Living Wage employer across the Charity. I am pleased to have worked with the Union and staff representatives to deliver the Trustees’ objectives of having no redundancies and continually improving the level of service provision to our one million visitors every year despite an increasingly challenging financial backdrop.”
The Scottish Government has formally responded to the review, whose underpinning purpose was to recognise and promote the positive role played by trade unions in the workplace, in industry, in the economy and in wider civil society. It also underlined the Scottish Government’s support for fair employment practice and respect for diversity and equality.