The Scottish Green Party's conference today heard from Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser, and from Jil Murphy of Business from Scotland, in a session around how the economy can be reformed to prioritise broader social interests, fairer wages, and labour rights.

Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser for UNISON, speaking ahead of an address to conference, said:

"The economy is increasingly being managed in the interests of shareholders and the richest in society, with public services under attack, zero hours contracts on the rise, wages continuing to stagnate for those in work, and benefits being squeezed for everyone else. Austerity is making it harder and harder to provide the kind of public services that are ever more essential in an economy of this sort.

"The key question for the trade union movement is this: how do we deliver high quality services which respond to the needs of local communities with decent pay and conditions for workers? It's a question for all the political parties too, and it's a great pleasure to be here at the Scottish Green Party's conference to discuss exactly these issues with the party's members, old and new."

Green Councillor Mark Ruskell, who addressed the same session, said:

"Greens recognise the essential role unions play in society, defending public services, protecting the rights of those in work, helping them to organise around the collective interest, and supporting an economy that puts people first. We support union campaigns to protect and enhance working conditions, not least because those workplaces are often so essential to those most in need of public support. We also, of course, support the right of workers to ballot on and take industrial action when necessary.

"The need for a strong democratic labour movement hasn't gone away: in fact, if anything it has never been more essential. That's why I'm so pleased to have been able to take part in this session with Dave Watson, and to discuss how the Scottish Greens can work more closely with the trade unions on the wide range of areas where we share a position."