Sean Robertson, a NHS worker and anti-cuts campaigner from Easter Ross has been announced as the lead candidate for the Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) on the Highlands and Islands regional list:
“A GMB member I am an experienced anti-austerity and socialist campaigner, having led the successful Highlands anti-bedroom tax campaign. Currently I am fighting as part of the national for fair pay for NHS workers.
Headline policies in the Scottish TUSC manifesto include:
- increasing the minimum wage to 12p/h as a step towards £15;
- a 15 per cent pay rise and minimum £15 per hour minimum wage for all health and social care workers;
- democratic public ownership of energy, transport and all of the major sectors of the economy as a part of a socialist plan of production;
- fighting back against all forms of oppression and practical steps to redress pension injustice using devolved powers.
We are the only pro-independence socialist party standing in our region at this election. By voting for Scottish TUSC Shetlanders can choose to fight for public ownership before private profit and put a movement against Post-Covid austerity firmly on the agenda.
Several points in TUSC’s manifesto for 2021 will resonate particularly clearly with workers in the Highlands and Islands. While during the first wave of Covid, deaths in our region were comparatively lower than in other areas, the economic and social consequences were brutal.
There has been a jobs bonfire, with all the big name retail job losses, large scale manufacturing companies making workers redundant and of course tourism, which was disproportionately hit by travel restrictions. Thousands of jobs have been lost in that sector possibly permanently.
Calls by TUSC to take into public ownership companies making major job losses will therefore be welcomed by northern workers who have seen their livelihoods taken away.
The scandal at Home Farm Care home on Skye, where 11 residents died, gained national notoriety last year. These deaths have been added to recently by outbreaks at several care homes particularly in Easter Ross and Inverness.
This brings into sharp focus the need for a fully publicly owned care service, run under democratic workers control, which would focus on providing for the needs of communities and families when they need it most, not lining the pockets of big business providers like HC-one.
“The Highlands and Islands have a large wealth of renewable energy resources and also the facilities and skill base to drive forward the socialist plan required to tackle once and for all the climate catastrophe caused by capitalism.
“We want the Highlands and Islands to be at the forefront of this fight, and will call for large scale fabrication and deep harbour sites like Nigg, Arnish and facilities on the Cromarty Firth to be taken into public ownership and used to rapidly expand production of offshore wind turbines and oil decommissioning work, with decades of guaranteed, well paid work, instead of being at the mercy of the whims of private business owners.”