The rights of Scottish workers must not be traded away in a Tory-SNP stitch up in Westminster, Kezia Dugdale said yesterday.
In a speech to the conference of the shopworkers’ union USDAW in Cumbernauld, the Scottish Labour leader called on Nicola Sturgeon to rule out a deal with the Tories on Sunday trading legislation. Next week the UK Government will hold a vote on the devolution of Sunday trading legislation to local authorities in England and Wales.
The Tory plan would put at risk the premium payment for shop workers in Scotland – time and a half for working on the Sunday – which USDAW has calculated as being worth up to £1,400 a year to Scottish shop workers.
Kezia Dugdale and UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have sent a joint letter to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon calling on her to rule out a deal.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:
“Nicola Sturgeon must not turn her back on the commitments made that her party would vote against this attack on shop workers.
The rights of Scottish workers must not be subject to a Tory-SNP stich up in Westminster. The SNP must join with Labour to vote against this Tory plan that would hit shop workers in Scotland hard.”
John Hannett, USDAW General Secretary, said:
“Scottish MPs should be concerned about the effects on Scottish shopworkers’ pay if there is extended Sunday trading across the UK. Retailers have previously reduced or removed Sunday premiums to offset the costs of opening stores for longer. If that happens again in UK-wide companies, Scottish shop workers will pay the price of longer opening hours in England and Wales.
The SNP leadership have not yet confirmed their party line for next week’s crucial vote and they have not yet arranged to speak to me direct about the issue, as promised. So I am appealing to individual MPs to prioritise the best interests of their constituents working in retail.
The SNP took a strong position on protecting Scottish shop workers pay and that threat looms as large today as it did before Christmas. So Scottish shop workers would feel betrayed if SNP MPs did anything other than maintain their opposition to the Sunday trading clauses in the Enterprise Bill. It would be an enormous u-turn if they were to now side with a Conservative Government determined to damage the livelihoods of shop workers across the UK.”