Claire votes against Trade Union Bill

Following last week’s protest outside Fife House against the Conservative Government’s Trade Union Bill I was delighted to join colleagues in voting against the Bill in Parliament.

The Bill, introduced by the Conservative Government, is an attack on workers’ rights and weakens local democracy. I am pleased the Fife Council have spoken out against the Bill and I hope that Scottish Parliament’s vote will put more pressure on the UK Government.

Before the debate I was pleased to join local and national trade unions – including a delegation from Fife – in protesting against the Bill outside the Scottish Parliament.

I have previously raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament and I held street surgeries in Fife, promoting our petition against the bill. Currently over 300,000 people have signed Labour’s petition against the bill – if you haven’t you can sign up here:

Scottish Labour is proud to stand against this ideological attack from the Tories on working people and I hope you can join us.

You can watch the full debate below or read the official report here.

Claire stands up for Trade Unions

I was delighted to join with colleagues from Fife Labour and local trade union members in protesting against the Conservative Government’s Trade Union bill.

This bill is an attack on workers’ rights putting unrealistic restrictions on protests and strikes. It is also weakens local democracy, potentially impacting on their relationships with public sector workers and the trade unions.

Previously I have raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament along with joining colleagues in holding street surgeries in Kirkcaldy to gain support for our petition.

Over 300,000 people have already signed Labour’s petition against the bill and I hope you can join me in signing up here ->

Claire continues Levenmouth rail campaign

As the campaign continues to reinstate the Levenmouth Rail Link I was delighted to meet with those involved in my office in Kirkcaldy.

Since I was elected as an MSP in 2007 I have been campaigning on the issue and I have previously held debates in the Scottish Parliament calling for its reintroduction.

Levenmouth is still one of the largest urban areas in Scotland not to be serviced by a working rail link. This is despite much of the tracks still intact.

Following the recent opening of Borders railway, Levenmouth Rail Link should be the Scottish Government’s and Transport Scotland’s next railway priority.

Last month during General Questions in the Scottish Parliament I called for the Scottish Government to commit to the rail link. You can watch a video of the question time below, my question is at 9 minutes.

Tax credit cuts – the new poll tax

As the Conservative continue their plans to introduce cuts to tax credits, official statistics has shown that this will impact up to 43,000 families in Mid Scotland and Fife.

According to figures, Kirkcaldy may be the hardest hit, with just under 7,000 families receiving child or working tax credits, which face being cut by the Conservative Government. Cowdenbeath will see just under 6,000 facing cuts with 5,700 in Mid Fife and Glenrothes under threat

Tax credits where introduced by Gordon Brown and the Labour Government to tackle in work poverty. Under the proposed cuts working families could be hit by on average £1,300 a year.

The ideological cuts to tax credits by the Conservative Government has the potential to be their new poll tax and I hope you will stand up for families in Scotland and join us in opposing the cut. Continue reading

Trade Union Bill concerns raised in Parliament

Yesterday in Parliament I raised my opposition to the Conservative Government’s Trade Union bill which is currently making its way through the UK Parliament.

This bill is a draconian piece of legislation designed to attack the rights of workers that we have battled so hard for throughout the years.

Council Leaders from across Scotland, including the leader of Fife Council, David Ross, have come out against the bill and its potential impact on council workers.

Only last weekend I was out in Kirkcaldy gaining support for a petition against the bill. It is clear that there is a real strength of feeling that what the Tories are doing is wrong and must be stopped.

Continue reading

Havelock Europa concerns raised

Earlier this month Havelock Europa announced a restructuring of its business that will see up to 50 workers lose their job. Following this news I raised the issue in the Scottish Parliament with the Business Minister.

During that question I received assurances that those currently going through their apprenticeships would not be affected by the plan to cut the company’s workforce by 10%. This is a move that I welcome.

However it has since been announced that the company has reported a pre-tax loss in the first 6 months of this year of £1.8 million, combined with a drop in group revenues of 5.2%.

This will bring further worry and insecurity to the workforce, which is why I have written to both Havelock Europa and the Scottish Government to seek reassurances there will be no further job losses.

I appreciate that for many business the current climate is challenging and the local Fife economy has been dealt many blows in recent weeks and months from the closure of Tesco in Kirkcaldy, the closure of Tullis Russell and redundancies at Bi Fab. That is why we must work together.

You can read my letters to the Chief Executive of Havelock Europa and the Business Minister below. Continue reading

Havelock Europe job losses raised in Parliament

This week in the Scottish Parliament I raised the recently announced job losses at Havelock Europa. The Kirkcaldy based company have announced that they would be cutting their staff by 10% which would see the loss of 50 jobs.

The job losses are another major blow to Kirkcaldy and the wider Fife economy, coming on the back of significant losses at major employers such as Tullis Russell, BiFab and Tesco.

Following the closure of Tullis Russell the Scottish Government has been working with Fife Council and set up a taskforce to help retrain and find employment for workers who were laid off. Continue reading

Longannet Power Station Statement

On Thursday the Energy Minister delivered a statement on the future of Longannet Power Station in the Scottish Parliament.

Following the statement I was able to ask a question about the future of the site and warn about the impact of further job losses to the local economy, particularly on the back of the recent announcement of redundancies at Havelock Europa.

I will be raising the job losses at Havelock Europa on Wednesday during Finance Question.

In the meantime you can watch the statement on the video below. The statement starts 46 mins 30 seconds into the video and my question starts at 1 hour 12 minutes and 50 seconds.

You can also read my question here.

Government must commit to Fife Energy Park during Fife visit

The news confirming that Samsung are pulling out of Methil is another massive blow to the local Levenmouth economy and to the future of Fife Energy Park. Samsung’s pullout takes with them the promise of 500 jobs made by former First Minister Alex Salmond and follows fears of potential job losses at Burntisland Fabrications, (BiFab).On Monday (6th July) the Scottish Government will be visiting Fife to hold a cabinet meeting and I have called for them to visit Fife Energy Park during their trip and respond to concerns of the workforce over the park’s future.

Announcing the trip, the First Minister said these visits were the opportunity for the Scottish Government to learn about the important issues affecting locals. If the First Minister is serious about listening to concerns of locals then she will agree to visit the park, less than 30 minutes away. Continue reading