STRT Report: Our Response

Formed in March this year by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce – comprised of the great and the good of Scotland’s tourism industry – published a long-awaited report this week detailing its recommendations for the future of the industry.

This report is full of bad proposals hidden behind nice photos. Unsurprisingly, given the interests of many of its authors, it is aggressively pro-owner and anti-worker.

Since the beginning, it’s become increasingly obvious that the sole concern of many industry leaders is to get their snouts in the trough and secure as much money from the government as possible, with no concern for their workers or the communities they operate in. This ‘recovery plan’ is the latest example of this, merely rolling out one proposal after another for tax cuts and bursaries.

Of course businesses will need government support to survive. But without guarantees that this support will also reach their workers, these proposals are worthless. If businesses are to be sustained at public expense, they should at least be required to commit to Fair Work principles – this is vital for the wellbeing of workers, and for the health and sustainability of Scottish communities. Without them, there is no industry.

The report pays only lip service to this, acknowledging that Fair Work is ‘essential’ but in the same breath warning against the ‘cost burden’ of committing to it, instead suggesting that Fair Work is implemented over a ‘realistic timescale’. As far as we can see in terms of actual policy proposals, by this they mean never. Rather, the suggestion seems to be to throw money at owners and hope that some of it will trickle down to workers.

This industry and its workers deserve better. Fair Work is a right, not a luxury, and if the governments in Holyrood and Westminster can afford to help our bosses, we have to insist that our bosses help us too. There’s only one way to do this – by coming together across the industry and demanding, together, that we receive our fair share of government support and that industry leaders are made accountable for the public money they’ve bagged. 

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