STUC renews call to drop Trident replacement

Jane Carolan
Jane Carolan

#STUC16 The STUC has renewed its call for Trident replacement to be abandoned and will revisit setting up Trade Union CND, focussing on job diversification for workers employed on Trident.

It rejected a GMB motion calling for Trident replacement as the ‘only game in town’ to defend jobs.

In a rousing speech, supporting a Clydebank TUC motion, UNISON’s Jane Carolan told delegates: “UNISON has a proud record of defending quality employment, defending high paid skilled jobs.

“But we also have a record of standing up for international peace and solidarity, and believe that both on practical and principled reasons that the impact of Trident replacement would be catastrophic.”

The world has changed, argued Jane, and the threat that we now face makes nuclear weapons hopelessly irrelevant.

“Indeed their very existence is futile. They are worse than useless in the terrorist threat we now face. How could our rented rockets ever have been deployed against outrages in Paris or Brussels?

“Yet while we spend on Trident, conventional forces that contribute to peacekeeping security and stability are cut”, said Jane.

“Why then would we want to continue to build and hold nuclear weapons, when there are realistic alternatives?”

Answering the argument that ‘diversification’ of jobs was too vague, Jane pointed out that government figures that show that even if Trident were cancelled it would be 15 years before any jobs would go due to decommissioning.

“15 years is a long time in employment terms. Ask any local government worker”, said Jane.

But there was also a wider principle, said Jane: “Politics is always about choices. Trident represents an excessive diversion of resources.

“For the cost of Trident we could have 100,000 more firefighters, 120,000 nurses, 120,000 teachers.

“It is a gross misallocation of taxpayers money, our money where there are so many more vital and constructive ways in which it could be spent. We need to highlight that Trident, a system designed never to be used is not only an irrelevance but an extravagance that will destroy our public services.”

A composite from Aberdeen TUC and Dundee TUC slammed the arms trade that sells weapons to repressive regimes. They called for UK Government support given to the arms industry to be transferred to the renewable energy and low-carbon technology sectors.

They agreed to refer the motion back to the STUC general council for more detailed work on the arms diversification issue.

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