Prospect takes members' issues to Scotland's First Minister

Prospect raises public sector pay and shipbuilding with Nicola Sturgeon

Prospect national secretary for Scotland Richard Hardy raised the concerns of members around public sector pay and the future of shipbuilding at a meeting between the general council of the Scottish Trades Union Congress and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday (5 March).

Scottish Parliament building in the snow

The meeting, which takes place twice-yearly, covered a number of topics, including the Scottish Budget; the economic outlook in Scotland; public procurement and the collapse of Carillion; fair work; and the behaviour of employers during last week's severe weather events.

During the meeting the First Minister reiterated her government's support for and appreciation of the work done by union reps in workplaces.

Hardy, a member of the general council, was able to raise the issue of public sector pay, and the retention of pay caps for staff, albeit at a higher level than in the rest of the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon accepted that the government needed to be clearer about the journey it is on to resolve public sector pay issues created by years of austerity. She indicated that the government cannot solve the issues in a single year, but should set out a clearer plan.

On shipbuilding, the First Minister indicated that the government would continue to lobby for Scottish yards to be involved in the construction of both the Class 31e frigates and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fleet Solid Support vessels, and asked unions involved to supply intelligence that would assist in lobbying at critical times.

The STUC general council also agreed to issue a joint statement with the Scottish Government in regards to best practice for dealing with any repeat of the recent weather events.

Hardy said: "While we don't always agree with the Scottish Government on key issues such as defence and nuclear generation, we recognise and welcome the ongoing engagement with trade unions by the First Minister.

"By engaging at the highest level, we ensure that our members' concerns are taken right to the heart of government. This can only be of benefit to the members we represent."