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The MU at STUC Congress 2023: Highlights

MU members moved and supported motions on Fair Work, arts funding and safer public transport for creative workers.

Published: 26 April 2023 | 11:17 AM Updated: 03 May 2023 | 11:47 AM
Outside of Caird Hall, Dundee.
Some of the MU’s ongoing campaigns were mentioned as positive examples during a speech on Fair Work and the Economy. Image credit: Shutterstock.

This year's Scottish TUC (STUC) Congress took place at Caird Hall, Dundee on Monday 17 April to Wednesday 19 April. It represented 37 trade unions and 20 trade union councils, with over 350 delegates and visitors attending.

Our members at STUC Congress

Our delegate Alexandria Adamson supported a composite motion on Fair Work and the Economy. The motion was introduced by the Communication Worker’s Union and seconded by the Disabled Workers' Conference, who highlighted some of the MU’s ongoing campaigns such as Work Not Play, Fix Streaming and the Safe Space Scheme

Member Ben Lunn also represented the MU throughout the day as chair of Scotland and Northern Ireland’s Regional Committee and we are delighted to confirm that during congress, he was elected to STUC’s General Council. The position was previously filled by the greatly missed musician and long time activist Rab Naokes, who passed away in November last year.

Read more on STUC Congress 2023.

Safer travel for workers

The MU also seconded Equity’s motion on Defending Cultural Workers and Public Funding for Creative Industries, as well as seconding The Royal College of Midwive’s motion on Safer Travel for Workers. Read MU member Mike Macdermid’s speech on this below.

Thank you, president, and thank you congress. I’m representing the Musicians' Union and would like to second this motion.

It’s easy to forget the challengers that night-time workers face, and we must acknowledge the fact that the health and safety of workers travelling to and from work, including staff working in the NHS and Musicians’ Union members, is not routinely taken into consideration. This is of huge concern for us, and we believe that it is high time for the relevant authorities to address this issue.

One of the major problems that we face as workers is the lack of public transport at times when travel is required. This is especially true for musicians who often perform at late-night events and gigs. The lack of reliable transport options can make it difficult for us to commute back home safely.

Furthermore, the Government funding for transports has led to travel routes being understaffed, inaccessible and unsafe. This has left musician’s and performers in danger of sexual harassment or inadequate support to get home safely. I can attest to the fact that the safety of women and those with disabilities in our industry is not just important, but vital and we must ensure that we create an environment where everyone feels safe and secure when travelling. Accessibility must be a priority and we should strive to be world leaders when it comes to safety.

It is also worth noting that music events and gigs often finish late with no transport available. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve rushed or struggled to get transport after an event. Imagine the challenges for those who are trying to find a safe route home an hour or two later. This leaves musicians and other workers stranded and vulnerable and it’s imperative that we address this issue and ensure that there are reliable transport options available for workers who work late at night.

As we move toward Ultra Low Emission Zones, having viable alternative options is vital for those workers who are required to come into cities and do their work and need safe, reliable options to get home. There’s a reliance on private vehicles, which for many musicians is simply not a viable option.

The health and safety of workers must be a top priority for everyone, regardless of their trade but as trade unions, we must work together to ensure that workers are provided with safe and reliable transport options. We must also ensure that our works feel safe and secure when travelling, regardless of the time of day or night. Let us act today to make travel routes safer for everyone. I second.

If you would like the opportunity to get involved in shaping our own policies, MU Delegate Conference will be taking place in July 2023 and all members who have been in membership for one year, and are not retired (free) members, are invited to apply to attend before Sunday 30 April.

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