REPORT from ROSE AGM November 2017
Alex Neil MSP told the ROSE AGM and conference in Glasgow in November. ‘Having served as minister in four different departments in the Scottish government I know this as a fact.’
‘We attempted to legislate to require companies taking public contracts to pay the real living wage and were told this was in violation of EU procurement rules. We attempted to take railway contracts back into the public sector and were told the same. Equally with Scottish ferries.’
Mr Neil called for an honest discussion among all on the Left about how to maximise the opportunities that now existed and to block attempts by the Tories and others to force a right-wing settlement that benefited big business at the expense of ordinary people.
Single Market membership
Pauline Bryan, convener of the Red Paper Collective, stressed the political significance of the election of Richard Leonard to the leadership of the Scottish Labour Party.
‘The one key point of policy difference in the election was that his challenger, Anas Sarwar, called for continued membership of the EU Single Market. This was not the position of the Labour manifesto in the General Election. As was argued at the time, this was because membership of the Single Market would still enforce EU law and block key manifesto pledges such as the renationalisation of the railways, Royal Mail and energy and the use of public procurement to ensure decent labour standards.’
‘Freedom to ensure public ownership’
Gordon Martin, RMT Scottish Organiser, attacked suggestions that leaving the EU would bring poverty to Scotland. ‘We already have poverty. On top of food banks, we now have fuel banks. People can’t afford to heat their houses. Low wages and precarious employment mean a substantial number of our families face malnutrition. We must have the freedom to ensure public investment and control in our economy and that means opposing Tory neo-liberals as well as those who argue for continued membership of the EU Single Market.’