Sunday, 11 March 2012
Shoes and Feet
A number of readers have been in touch about the post from yesterday - 'Living Wage' - which featured the comments of a union spokesperson in South Lanarkshire.
'Do I know the identity of the person concerned?', these readers asked - as well as expressing their surprise that a union rep could make such a comment.
Well, yes I do as a matter of fact - and here's a slightly longer quote from the original article which appeared in the local newspaper - the Hamilton Advertiser:
"Stephen Smellie, secretary of Unison’s South Lanarkshire Branch said the MSP was failing to note the hugely positive impact which the Living Wage had on the families who will gain from its introduction.
He explained: “It is primarily low-paid women who have benefited from the Living Wage. They will now be better able to buy a spare pair of shoes or a winter coat for their kids.
Studies have shown that introducing the Living Wage leads to a better motivated staff and an improvement in service delivery.
This is why it is supported by, amongst many others, Tory Boris Johnson, Mayor of London."
Stephen Smellie (which is pronounced 'Smiley' not 'Smelly' by the way) has been the Unison branch secretary in South Lanarkshire for several years - maybe even ten or more.
Stephen gave evidence in a recent equal pay hearing involving South Lanarkshire Council - as a council side witness it has to be said - not on behalf of the women claimants.
I first met Stephen many years ago and as I recall he was a supporter of Militant - the 'entryist' organisation which operated inside the Labour party in the 1980s - until it was tackled and effectively driven out under Neil Kinnock's leadership.
In Scotland Militant went on to become the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) - which eventually self-destructed under Tommy Sheridan's leadership.
Some of the SSP members have since joined the Labour party - whether Stephen is now in the Labour party - or any political party - I don't know for sure.
But it certainly wouldn't surprise me.
Because the great majority of union reps in Scotland are still card carrying members of the Labour party these days - despite the much more mixed political views of ordinary trade union members.