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STUC 2014 Dundee

Austerity 'a political choice, not an economic necessity'

Susan Kennedy
"Tribunal fees aren’t about deterring frivolous claims – they are about pricing people out of justice."


Congress pledged to continue its high profile campaign against welfare cuts and austerity and will press the UK and Scottish governments to take steps to improve employment protections, including the abolition of employment tribunal fees, and an end to poverty pay.

UNISON’s Susan Kennedy condemned austerity as a “a political choice, not an economic necessity” as she supported a call from USDAW, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Aberdeen TUC for a range of measures to tackle poverty and the cost of living crisis in Scotland.

She told Congress that austerity isn’t about cutting the deficit or saving public money “because you don’t do that by throwing people on the dole and draining demand out of the economy.

“No what austerity is about is funnelling ever greater sums of money toward those who already have far more than their fair share. So never mind the fact that the economy has struggled back into some sort of growth.

“If you want to see where austerity has worked and who it has worked for look at the Sunday Times rich list. At the 1000 richest people in the UK. Austerity has had a real impact on them alright,” slammed Susan, “Why last year they had to struggle by with a tiny 8% rise in their already enormous fortunes.

“They are now worth three times the deficit that George Osborne is keeping the rest of us poor in order to deal with.”

Susan also condemned the introduction of fees for employment tribunals UNISON has questioned the legality of the move and Susan told Congress that although this challenge was defeated UNISON will be appealing that decision.

“The fees aren’t about deterring frivolous claims – they are about pricing people out of justice,” she said.

Date 14 April 2014

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