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Scottish Trade Unions oppose Trident

The 109th STUC took place in Perth between the 10th and 12th of April with much on the agenda to interest CND supporters.
Congress unanimously reaffirmed its opposition to Trident and to any replacement. This compares to a few years ago when workers from Faslane picketed Congress over an anti Trident motion. Another sign of progress was that the motion was moved by the RMT union whereas in the recent past it was trade union councils who were pushing the issue.

The motion called for affiliates to join SCND and members should raise this in their own trade union. The motion will make it easier to win trade union support for Scotland’s For Peace Long Walk and other peace activities. Matt Smith Scottish Secretary of Unison and a STUC General Council member has since agreed to be part of the Aldermaston Inspection team.
The debate on energy had a surprising result. Moved by AMICUS the composite backed nuclear power for ‘consideration’ alongside clean coal, renewables and North Sea oil and gas, in any government review of energy policy. This was a watering down of the AMICUS position compared to the Scottish Labour Party Conference the previous month. Clearly it had problems getting other unions to go along with its previous position of outright support for nuclear power. The composite was supported by the GMB, NUM, TGWU and Prospect along with a General Council statement of support.

However against all the trade union heavy weights was a counter motion moved by SCND member Duncan Macintosh on behalf of Paisley Trades Union Council challenging the position that nuclear energy would meet industry’s need for cheap energy, citing the cost of decommissioning and also drawing attention to the link between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. Duncan’s reply to discussion was particularly telling.

The vote backed the AMICUS composite narrowly with a lot of unions abstaining due to having no policy on the issue. Clearly an opportunity to win the debate in a number of trade unions.

Finally, a full house at the SCND fringe meeting heard our own chair Alan Mackinnon make the case against Trident replacement.

Tommy Morrison

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