With employment powers Scotland could do far more for workers rights

A Scotland with powers over employment could do so much more for workers.

The Scottish Greens have called for the devolution of employment powers so that Scotland could introduce a genuine living wage and a complete ban on zero hours contracts and fire and rehire while repealing Tory anti-trade union laws that stripped workers of their rights.

Speaking in a debate led by Keith Brown MSP, the Scottish Greens spokesperson for workers rights, Maggie Chapman MSP, will reflect on her time on the Smith Commission into devolution, which took place in the aftermath of the independence referendum. 

In her speech, Ms Chapman will say:

“When we – Greens and SNP members of the Commission – proposed the devolution of employment law, the Labour representatives simply said “No.”

“There were no clear arguments about solidarity across borders, although those had been made before the referendum vote itself. It was just: “No”. No discussion. No nothing. 

“It was almost as if it was No as punishment. Punishment of Scotland for daring to suggest we could do better. Punishment for all of us who dared to imagine a better world. Punishment of hope."

Ms Chapman will add:

“If Labour had not vetoed the devolution of employment law by collaborating with the Tories, we could have a real living wage, a total ban on zero hours contracts, on fire and rehire, as well as the reinstatement of employment and trade union rights removed by the Tories. 

“These powers would make our efforts to bring children out of poverty, or to ensure a just transition to communities, so much easier. Stronger trade unions could be at the forefront of creating cohesive cooperative societies, of standing up against exploitation. 

“The vague possibility that a new Labour government in London might repeal the worst of Tory anti-worker legislation is not a good enough reason to oppose the devolution of these powers. And it certainly is not a good enough prospect for our workers and communities now.”