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STUC 2014 Dundee

Union learning – Making a difference to people’s lives

Hazel Marshall
Hazel Marshall

The First Minister, Alex Salmond, in his speech to Congress, answered delegates’ call and promised three year funding for union learning, to make sure that trade unions can continue to develop and provide workplace learning. Congress had earlier commended the “invaluable contribution” of workplace learning for both workers and the employers and called for improved funding as well as a three year funding cycle.

Seconding Aegis the Union’s motion, UNISON’s Hazel Marshall told Congress that it is no surprise that it is the trade union movement that takes lifelong learning more seriously than even the most enlightened employer. As well as helping our members to develop their skills and capacities and to reach their full potential, union learning also provides a positive image for the unions, showing people that “Our real purpose is to make a difference to people’s lives.”

Hazel added, “In my own area of Lanarkshire, a partnership with Local Authorities and the Health board delivers a variety of courses, from IT skills to dementia awareness.

“In the Highlands it is a union learning programme that has helped migrant workers to develop their English language skills to improve their prospects in their new home. There are similar stories the length and breadth of the country.”

Hazel warned however, that there aren’t enough of them and had called on the Scottish Government to take union learning seriously. “We need to be saying to the Scottish Government, if you can make a commitment to big business to cut corporation tax, you can make a commitment to Scotland’s workforce and Scotland’s people to improve our skills and abilities.”

Date 15 April 2014

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