As another Tory government presides over the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, it’s clear that the UK no longer offers prosperity and stability.
After 13 years of austerity and a damaging Brexit, the UK is in decline – with low productivity, low growth, stagnant wages and the highest inequality out of neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, the Tory government’s assault on trade unions and welfare cuts for working families are making people less secure and worse off.
Scottish independence offers the way out of this Westminster spiral of decline, and gives us the opportunity to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.
Here’s what our proposals mean for workers:
An independent Scotland would be able to establish a fair national minimum wage at a level that better reflects the cost of living in Scotland.
Responsibility for determining future increases in the minimum wage could fall to a new Scottish Fair Pay Commission, which would involve employers, trade unions and government.
The Commission would also be able to examine issues such as setting a higher minimum wage on non-guaranteed hours.
Tackling pay gaps and ending wage discrimination for young workers
An independent Scotland would require greater transparency in pay reporting, and we would act on that data to help address gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps.
We would also end the current Westminster approach that discriminates against young workers, with a lower minimum wage based on age.
With the powers of independence, we would establish a fairer minimum wage with a single rate for all age groups.
Securing stronger access to flexible working
An independent Scotland would work to improve access to flexible working, which would help make sure parents and carers, most of whom are women, have more choice over how to balance caring and employment responsibilities.
Allowing parents and carers to work around school hours would also contribute to tackling child poverty – on top of the anti-poverty payments already in place in Scotland, such as the “game-changing” Scottish Child Payment.
Scrapping the Tories’ anti-trade union laws
Unfair and draconian labour laws, like the UK Trade Union Act 2016, would be repealed in recognition of the fact that good industrial relations, and active trade unions, are a key component of building a stronger, fairer country.
This would make it easier for unions and workers to organise in the workplace, and it would help raise employment standards.
What’s more, an independent Scotland would be able to develop a national action plan to extend collective bargaining coverage, and introduce sectoral bargaining mechanisms, such as those currently being developed in New Zealand to improve conditions in low-pay sectors and support pay progression.
Banning ‘fire and rehire’ and supporting workers in precarious employment
An independent Scotland would legislate to ban ‘fire and rehire’. That means an end to the practice of employers making workers redundant and offering to rehire on reduced wages and conditions.
And we would legislate to support workers in precarious employment. This would allow agency workers and those on zero-hours contracts to be entitled to a written statement of their status and conditions from their first day at work.
It would help ensure that workers are not being discriminated against by being forced to operate as self-employed, and it would tackle the exploitation of workers, particularly in the ‘gig economy’.
Increasing statutory sick pay and parental leave
An independent Scotland would be able to gradually introduce higher minimum standards for statutory sick pay and parental leave, bringing both to at least the average for OECD nations.
According to the OECD, the UK currently has the lowest statutory sick pay among developed nations.
For the first four weeks of sick leave, this would raise the median worker’s sick pay from 10% of earnings (the average for UK workers) to 70% of earnings (the average for workers across OECD nations).
On parental leave, under the current Westminster system, the right to request flexible working is only available after 26 weeks and the right to take parental leave comes after one year.
With independence, we could introduce full employment rights for all from day one of employment.
Let’s build a fairer future with independence
As an independent country, Scotland would no longer have to rely on Westminster Tory governments that we haven’t voted for since the 1950s.
We would always get the governments we vote for, acting in the best interests of all people who live in Scotland.
We would be able to end Westminster’s failed austerity approach, and invest £20bn in key infrastructure, using revenues from windfall profits of oil and gas, helping to make Scotland fit for the future.
With independence, we can truly harness our vast renewable energy potential to ensure people benefit from cheaper, cleaner energy – paving the way for a Just Transition that leaves no worker behind.
All of that, and more, is only possible with the full powers of independence.