STUC Congress 14th - 16th April 2014
Branch activists take key role at STUC
Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden and Assistant Branch secretary, Susan Kennedy both had key roles at this year's Congress in Dundee.
Kate gives a Standing Orders Report
Kate was a member of the Standing Orders Committee (SOC), which ensures the smooth running of Congress, and has been the Chair for the past four years, giving Standing Orders reports throughout the Congress to update delegates on the business and any changes to the process.
This was Kate's last year in this role, and on the final day of Congress, she was thanked from the platform by the President, Harry Frew, and presented with a gift by her colleagues on the SOC.
Kate said, "I have had a brilliant few years on the SOC and have been proud to have chaired it for the last four. I will miss being part of it, but feel that it is time to stand aside and let others come through.
"I've taken a fairly "hands on" approach, and I'd like to think that I've had a positive influence on how the Committee works to support the smooth running of Congress. This year's Congress went very well, but I'm not sure if that was testament to the SOC and the President's Chairing of Congress, or just a lucky fluke!"
Austerity 'a political choice, not an economic necessity'
"Tribunal fees aren’t about deterring frivolous claims – they are about pricing people out of justice."
Susan Kennedy has attended Congress as a delegate for a number of years now and has been a regular speaker.
This year Susan spoke to a Composite calling for the STUC to continue its high profile campaign against welfare cuts and austerity. As part of this, it will press the UK and Scottish governments to take steps to improve employment protections, including the abolition of employment tribunal fees, and an end to poverty pay.
She condemned austerity as a “a political choice, not an economic necessity” as she supported a call from USDAW, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Aberdeen TUC for a range of measures to tackle poverty and the cost of living crisis in Scotland.
She told Congress that austerity isn’t about cutting the deficit or saving public money “because you don’t do that by throwing people on the dole and draining demand out of the economy.
“No what austerity is about is funnelling ever greater sums of money toward those who already have far more than their fair share. So never mind the fact that the economy has struggled back into some sort of growth.
“If you want to see where austerity has worked and who it has worked for look at the Sunday Times rich list. At the 1000 richest people in the UK. Austerity has had a real impact on them alright,” slammed Susan, “Why last year they had to struggle by with a tiny 8% rise in their already enormous fortunes.
“They are now worth three times the deficit that George Osborne is keeping the rest of us poor in order to deal with.”
Susan also condemned the introduction of fees for employment tribunals UNISON has questioned the legality of the move and Susan told Congress that although this challenge was defeated UNISON will be appealing that decision.
“The fees aren’t about deterring frivolous claims – they are about pricing people out of justice,” she said.