Following extensive membership consultations, the Scottish committee of the UK’s biggest trade union, Unite – the union’s key decision-making body in Scotland - has unanimously agreed that it will not make a recommendation to its members on the constitutional question and give no endorsement to either Better Together or Yes Scotland.
Elected workplace representatives gathered in Glasgow this morning to debate the referendum process so far and set out Unite’s position on the Scottish independence referendum as the campaign enters its final six months.
Today’s decision means Unite carries forward its long-standing position campaigning for and representing its members interests without compromise, while fully engaging and supporting its members efforts to reach their own determinations based on the constitutional arguments presented.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “The role of Unite is not to dictate to our members how they should vote on what is one of the biggest decisions they will have to make. This is a decision on the future of a nation and its people and everything that entails.
“Irrespective of September’s outcome Unite will continue to fight for the issues important to our members – jobs, wages, public services, the welfare state, tackling inequality, and better employment and trade union rights – but constitutional changes whether it is independence or greater devolution will mean different things to different people based on their industrial, social and personal circumstances.
“We have no interest, whatsoever, in limiting democratic debate and freedom of choice among our members, which is what we believe would happen with the endorsement of a position, while policies and proposals on our country’s constitutional future are still being created and debated.
“It will be up to the respective campaigns to engage with and address the concerns of the 160,000-plus people we represent in Scotland and they can be assured that we will create the opportunities for them to do so over the coming weeks and months.
“What we want to do is encourage members to participate and help increase the quality of debate and scrutiny in this process in order that our members can make the most informed choice they can, based on all the information and options presented to them, come 18 September.
“The decision taken by our Scottish committee today means that we can use the collective influence we have as the country’s biggest trade union to do just that.”
For further information please contact Peter Welsh on 07810157931 and Alex Flynn on 07967665869
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Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.