STUC 2023 – Invest in our children

Recognising the importance of valuing school staff, including teachers, as they take action to support pupils to recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic, Congress supported a range of measures to improve the pay and working conditions of all Scottish workers, in line with the Fair Work agenda.

UNISON’s Lorraine Thomson, speaking in support, told Congress that a better deal for workers also gives our children a better start in life.

“When we take action to defend our pay and conditions and the services we provide, we’re taking action for our children, and the kind of labour market they will inherit, the kind of working life they can look forward to.

“When education workers take action we are fighting for the education service that all our children deserve and that is vital for their futures.”

She called for investment in childcare and education services, pointing out that there is now firm evidence of the negative impact that covid restrictions had on children’s development – from babies to teenagers.

“Better quality, better paid jobs are the main thing we need to end child poverty. Low wages are the main driver of child poverty.

But she pointed out that the quality of jobs also has an impact on children. There is now firm evidence that when parents are employed in non-standard, insecure jobs, zero hours or pressured into long hours of work, then it has an effect on their children’s mental health and wellbeing.

“The workers typically in non-standard jobs are women, lone parents (mostly women), black and minority ethnic and disabled workers. Since 2008 thousands have been forced into the labour market because of welfare reform.

“It is their children who are suffering the consequences of our deregulated labour market and our cruel benefits system that is forcing them into precarious poor quality jobs.

“The government target is for Scotland to be a leading Fair Work Nation by 2025.

But we are as far away from this as ever,” slammed Lorraine, calling for us to redouble our effort to win an industrial and economic strategy that delivers for us and for our children.