The STUC voted to support the motion from UNISON Scotland on the need for public sector reform guided by the involvement of the service providers (ie workers) and service users. The Jimmy Reid Foundation report on this very subject from earlier in the year was mentioned: see this report
Tomorrow is the 45th anniversary of Jimmy Reid’s rectorial address at Glasgow university on 28 April 1972 – one of the best political speeches ever made. For the only know remaining film of a portion of the rectorial address, see this excerpt
Tomorrow, 28 April 2017, is Workers’ Memorial Day to commemorate all those who have lost their lives at work or because of work due to the negligence and rapaciousness of employers – so remember, discuss and join in some of the events.
A successful and productive exchange of views was held today at a 30-strong Jimmy Reid Foundation lunchtime fringe meeting at the STUC congress in Aviemore. Chaired by PCS national officer, Lynn Henderson, we heard Professor Mike Danson from Heriot Watt university give an overview of the Foundation report on the case against the renewal of Trident followed by a response from Richard Hardy, Prospect union Scottish regional secretary and John McInally, PCS National vice-president. The one overwhelmingly supported outcome was that, under the auspices of the STUC, the various defence unions should meet to i) establish what they have in common and ii) how to progress the establishment of a credible diversification strategy (including a well resourced diversification agency). Many thanks to the GMB, Prospect, UCU and PCS unions for providing the resourcing to stage the fringe meeting and those delegates at the STUC for attending.
The Jimmy Reid Foundation is delighted to announce that Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, has agreed to deliver the 2017 annual Jimmy Reid lecture on Thursday 5 October 2017. He will speak on the issue of the defence of public services in an era of austerity and neo-liberalism.
More details on venue and timings will follow in due course.
Following the last meeting of the project board of the Jimmy Reid Foundation (on 6 April), we have agreed a new set of research and policy papers to be commissioned and published over the remainder of the year and into early 2018. These are on the environment, developing aspects of public service reform (like citizen participation), the regulation of employment relations, workers’ rights, and the ramifications of the automation of work.
If you’d like to support the work of these projects by making a financial donation (however small) to the Foundation, please go to http://reidfoundation.org/sustaining/
We’d be very grateful of any financial support you can give us.
The Sunday Herald has today (9 April 2017) given major coverage to the Jimmy Reid Foundation paper from Jim Cuthbert on the fiscal constraints any new and future Scottish government will face. The coverage can be accessed at http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15213140.Pro_independence_economist_issues___39_danger__39__warning_over_new_powers/
The paper the coverage is about can be accessed at http://reidfoundation.org/2017/04/comments-on-the-scottish-budget-scrutiny-consultation-by-dr-jim-cuthbert/
The Jimmy Reid Foundation is now using the https://www.facebook.com/TheReidFoundation/ account and is posting regularly on Foundation matters (announcements, new papers etc) as well as on issues close to the heart of Jimmy Reid (eg on issues of work, employment, unions, social justice etc). Please follow the Foundation on facebook!
The Jimmy Reid Foundation is now using the https://twitter.com/ReidFoundation twitter account and is tweeting regularly on Foundation matters (announcements, new papers etc) as well as on issues close to the heart of Jimmy Reid (eg on issues of work, employment, unions, social justice etc). Please follow the Foundation on Twitter!
Members of the Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) met on 1st June and agreed on a co-ordinated campaign to defend the Human Rights Act (HRA), and to promote human rights for everyone in everyday situations. Human rights standards and principles reflect our basic values of fairness, respect, equality and dignity.
Despite recent press coverage, members agreed not to be complacent and recognised that abolition of the HRA and potential withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) remain very real possibilities. Following the UK Government’s announcement in the Queen’s speech that “My Government will bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights”, some thought that the case for the HRA had been won, but HRCS members thought the result would actually be a weakening of human rights enforcement and protection as further information was provided in the Queen’s Speech Briefing Pack:
“The Government will bring forward proposals for a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act. This would reform and modernise our human rights legal framework and restore common sense to the application of human rights laws, which has been undermined by the damaging effects of Labour’s Human Rights Act. It would also protect existing rights, which are an essential part of a modern, democratic society, and better protect against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws.”
Carole Ewart from the HRCS spoke at the meeting and said:
“The real issue for politicians is to ensure the general public enjoy and can equally assert human rights in everyday places. A campaign of demonization against human rights only makes sense if you want to create public hostility to rights that should in fact empower us all, as well as the weakest in our society, and offer us all protection against failings in public services. Human rights belong to public service workers too and can be used within organisations to deliver more effective, people centred services.
The meeting was addressed by Kevin Hanratty from the NI Human Rights Consortium who pointed out:
“The HRA was a cornerstone human rights protection of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the new Assembly it set up, just as it was for devolution in Scotland and the Scottish Parliament. The Human Rights Consortium (NI) is determined to work with our colleagues across the UK like the Scottish Human Rights Consortium to defend this important legislation, which acts as a fundamental protection for the most vulnerable in our society”
Marianne Scobie from Glasgow Disability Alliance pointed out that welfare reforms and changes in the delivery of social care to disabled people had raised significant human rights issues but there was not a throughput of legal cases to change public sector behaviour. “When people do assert their human rights that case is individually fixed but what we want to see is a change in policy, practice and culture for us all. We look forward to working with other organisations to ensure the HRA realises its potential.”
Aidan Collins from HIV Scotland outlined how the protection afforded to its members by the HRA had changed how individuals approached public services and influenced their expectations about how services are delivered as well as which services should be available.
The next HRCS event is its national conference on 25th June ‘What Next for Human Rights’ which will be addressed by the Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil.
- The Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) is a civil society network established in January 2010 to address the gap in knowledge of human rights and to build capacity on applying human rights principles and standards to the delivery of publicly funded services. The HRCS was borne out of an unmet need and in response to specific problems. The need for the HRCS is proven and we are committed to developing our work across Scotland. Our membership has increased to over 180 organisations and individuals. To join go to www.hrcscotland.co.uk
- The Queen’s Speech Briefing Pack is available on the Ministry of Justice website and quote appears at page 75.
- UK Government policy appears to contradict Scottish Government Policy which was affirmed at the Scottish Parliament on 11th November 2014: “…expresses its confidence in, and support for, the Human Rights Act 1998 as a successful and effective implementation of the convention in domestic law, and believes that the principles and values that inform the convention, the rights and freedoms that it enumerates and the Acts that incorporate it into law, should be a source of unity and consensus across the whole of society and should enjoy the unequivocal backing of all who are committed to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”
- The conference on 25th June runs from 9am – 4.15pm in the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, Collins Building, 22 Richmond St, Glasgow, G1 1XQ