Fears that the Scottish Labour party is seeking to make political capital out of public-sector pay negotiations have grown after a party official claimed a march in support of teachers’ pay was a protest against the ‘SNP government’.
Aidan Kerr, who is part of Scottish Labour’s communications team, made the claim in a tweet following the march on Saturday.
Fomer STV reporter Kerr said: “Incredible show of opposition to the SNP government on Glasgow’s streets.”
The tweet followed a march organised by the teaching union, the EIS. The march was in support of a demand by the union that all teachers be awarded a ten per cent pay rise, regardless of their current salary.
The Scottish government has offered a combination of a 3% increase for all staff earning up to £80,000, a restructuring of the main grade scale and annual progression, which they say will mean the majority of teachers receive a rise between 5% and 11%.
The march attracted an estimated 30,000 people according to the EIS with speakers from the SNP, Greens, Lib Dems and Scottish Labour. However there have been growing suspicions that some trade unions have been using local-government pay disputes as a means of boosting support for Scottish Labour under Richard Leonard.
One Scottish Labour politician released a video which used the march to attack the SNP.
A previous march in support of equal pay for female council workers in Glasgow witnessed Labour politicians blame the SNP despite the dispute having been caused by Labour and prolonged for over ten years by the party.
An official of one leading trade union at the centre of the Glasgow Council Equal Pay strike is also a Labour party election candidate. GMB official Rhea Wolfson attacked SNP group leader Susan Aitken and threatened to “shut down this city” only months after the SNP took control of Glasgow Council from Labour.
Current Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, who replaced Kezia Dugdale last year, is a former official with GMB Scotland. The union contributed £12,000 to Leonard’s Scottish Labour leadership campaign.
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