MSP's slam rural inquiry snub to T&G

The Land Is Ours office at
Sat Sep 22 11:34:22 BST 2001

Morning Star - Thursday 20th September

MSP's slam rural inquiry snub to T&G

Scottish trade unionists and MSP's attacked Rural Affairs Minister Ross 
Finnie's decision yesterday (Wednesday 19th) to exclude agriculture union 
T&G from a committee examining the future of the sector.

The T&G lodged a formal protest with the minister, after he decided to snub 
the union and ask banks and supermarkets to take part.

The executive's strategy group will examine the sustainability of 
agriculture in Scotland.

MSP's raised objections to Liberal democrat Mr Finnie's decision at a 
metting of the parliament's rural development committee.

The T&G represents a wide cross-section of workers on farms and in 
abattoirs, food processing plants and the haulage industry.  T&G Scottish 
secretary Andy Baird pointed out that union members had "borne the brunt of 
crises, such as BSE and foot-and-mouth disease, that have damaged the 
industry in recent years".

He said that there was "no-one or any other organisation that has a greater 
stake in helping to secure the future of agriculture than those whose 
livelihoods depend on it".

Scottish TUC assistant secretary Tracey White noted that there was no trade 
union input of any sort into the strategy group.  "Where groups have been 
set up to advise on policy or make an input, they should always have 
someone representing the workers' pint of view", Ms White insisted.

But Mr Finnie said that he would "give consideration" to including union 
representation on a body monitoring the progress of the strategy.  Labour 
and Co-op MSP Cathy Jamieson welcomed Mr Finnie's assurance.  "It is 
important that those working in the agricultural sector have their views 
and concerns taken into account", she said.

** The Scottish parliament voted on Wednesday to press ahaed with plans to 
ban fox hunting.  MSP's voted by 84 votes to 34, with one abstention, to 
back Labour MSP Mike Watson's Protection of Wild Mammals Bill.  The bill is 
likely to take another six months to become law.
(comment   '...& then this "bambi" view of the countryside will be 
enshrined in law'   < these views do not neccessarily reflect those of 
everyone in TLIO).

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