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The Scottish Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has launched its election manifesto for the Scottish Elections scheduled for May and have selected Sean Robertson, an NHS worker and anti-cuts campaigner from Easter Ross, at the top of their regional list for the Highlands and Islands.
Scottish TUSC is a coalition of socialists, trade unionists and community campaigners, including Socialist Party Scotland and RMT transport union.
Mr Robertson is a seasoned socialist campaigner, having led the Highlands Anti-Bedroom Tax campaign, as well as supporting NHS workers in their pay fight in the summer.
Mr Robertson believes several points in the TUSC’s manifesto for 2021 will resonate 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,’ commented Mr Robertson.
‘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.’
Mr Robertson went on to raise the issue of deaths in care homes due to Covid-19, which he said brought into sharp focus the need for a fully publicly-owned care service.
He added: ‘The Highlands and Islands have a large wealth of renewable energy resources and the facilities and skill base to drive forward the socialist plan required to tackle once and for all the climate catastrophe caused by capitalism.
Mr Robertson also said the TUSC also wanted to see the writing off of historic local authority debts and a crash programme of council house building and rent protections.
Other headline policies in the Scottish TUSC manifesto include increasing the minimum wage to £12 per hour 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.
NO F11 Sean Robertson