union for life

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

Major employers

Dounreay, BT, Nuvia

  1. How will you ensure that key, cross-border industries – including energy, telecoms, broadcasting, nuclear, science and aviation – can prosper outside the single market?
  2. Will you ensure that the UK does not leave Euratom without putting in place equivalent arrangements, including mobility for nuclear specialist staff?
  3. Will you campaign for a nuclear deal that provides a secure future pathway for new build, decommissioning, nuclear R&D and regulation?
  4. Will you commit to delivering the investment and support necessary to complete the rollout of universal superfast broadband to all areas in the UK by the end of the parliament?

Candidates' responses

Struan Mackie (Conservative)

Response awaited

Olivia Bell (Labour)

 How will you ensure that key, cross-border industries – including energy, telecoms, broadcasting, nuclear, science and aviation – can prosper outside the single market?

 Labour will deliver universal superfast broadband availability by 2022. Labour will improve mobile internet coverage and expand provision of free public wi-fi in city centres and on public transport. We will improve 4G coverage and invest to ensure all urban areas, as well as major roads and railways, have uninterrupted 5G coverage. On day one we will instruct the National Infrastructure Commission to report on how to roll out 'ultrafast’ (300Mbps) across the UK within the next decade.

Scottish Labour continues to put pressure on the SNP Government to ensure its superfast broadband roll-out reaches all areas of the Highlands and Islands - remote and rural areas will prove more difficult to connect and Labour Highlands and Islands MSPs have pressed the Government on how this programme will be delivered to harder to reach areas. The MSPs' casework is full of complaints about the lack of digital connectivity across the region.

Will you ensure that the UK does not leave Euratom without putting in place equivalent arrangements, including mobility for nuclear specialist staff?

Labour realises that the UK has the world’s oldest nuclear industry, and nuclear will continue to be part of the UK energy supply. We will support further nuclear projects and protect nuclear workers’ jobs and pensions. There are considerable opportunities for nuclear power and decommissioning both internationally and domestically.

Will you campaign for a nuclear deal that provides a secure future pathway for new build, decommissioning, nuclear R&D and regulation?

A Labour government will ensure that the UK maintains our leading research role by seeking to stay part of Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes and by welcoming research staff to the UK. We will seek to maintain membership of (or equivalent relationships with) European organisations which offer benefits to the UK such as Euratom and the European Medicines Agency. We will seek to ensure that Britain remains part of the Erasmus scheme so that British students have the same educational opportunities after we leave the EU.

Will you commit to delivering the investment and support necessary to complete the rollout of universal superfast broadband to all areas in the UK by the end of the parliament?

We will drop the Conservatives’ Great Repeal Bill, replacing it with an EU Rights and Protections Bill that will ensure there is no detrimental change to workers’ rights, equality law, consumer rights or environmental protections as a result of Brexit.

Throughout the Brexit process, we will make sure that all EU-derived laws that are of benefit - including workplace laws, consumer rights and environmental protections – are fully protected without qualifications, limitations or sunset clauses. We will work with trade unions, businesses and stakeholders to ensure there is a consensus on this vital issue. A Labour approach to Brexit will ensure there can be no rolling back of key rights and protections and that the UK does not lag behind Europe in workplace protections and environmental standards in future.

The EU has had a huge impact in securing workplace protections and environmental safeguards. But we all know that for many Brexiteers in the Tory Party, this was why they wanted to Leave – to tear up regulations and weaken hard-fought rights and protections.

A Labour government will never consider these rights a burden or accept the weakening of workers’ rights, consumer rights or environmental protections.

We will introduce legislation to ensure there are no gaps in national security and criminal justice arrangements as a result of Brexit.

Labour recognises the vital role that cross-border agencies such as Eurojust and Europol have played in making Britain safer and that European Arrest Warrants have been invaluable. A Labour government will seek to retain membership of these agencies and continue European Arrest Warrant arrangements.

Labour will seek a Brexit deal that delivers for all regions and nations of the UK. We will introduce a ‘presumption of devolution’ where devolved powers transferred from the EU will go straight to the relevant region or nation. For many people and for much of our country, power can feel just as remote and unaccountable in Westminster as it does in Brussels. So a Labour government will seek to put powers as close to communities as possible.

We will ensure there is no drop in EU Structural Funding as a result of Brexit until the end of the current EU funding round in 2019/20. As part of Labour’s plans to rebalance and rebuild the economy, we will ensure that no region or nation of the UK is affected by the withdrawal of EU funding for the remainder of this Parliament. This will also apply to the funding of peace and reconciliation projects in Northern Ireland. We will also improve engagement and dialogue with the devolved administrations and seek to ensure the final Brexit deal addresses specific concerns.

Where Theresa May wants to shut down scrutiny and challenge, Labour will welcome it. We will work with Parliament, not against it. On an issue of this importance the Government can’t hide from the public or Parliament.

A Labour approach to Brexit also means legislating to guarantee that Parliament has a truly meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal.

5) We will create an innovation nation with the highest proportion of high- skilled jobs in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by 2030. We will meet the OECD target of 3 per cent of GDP spent on research and development by 2030

6) On the issue of Air Traffic Control jobs and a new, centralised system being investigated by management in the Highlands and Islands, I would be against its introduction if it took away valuable jobs in areas such as Caithness. We have suffered enough from centralisation of services with police and fire controls moving south. I want to see more good quality jobs come to Caithness,Sutherland and Easter Ross.

Labour will:
Trade - negotiate  a new deal with Europe that puts jobs and the economy first.
Procurement – by requiring the best standards on government contracts.
Research and development – by committing extra research investment.

Your members might also be interested in this: the next Labour government will bring in a 20-point plan for security and equality at work:

  • Give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent - so that working conditions are not driven down.
  • Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week.
  • Legislate to ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home – because it causes divisions when one workforce is used against another.
  • Repeal the Trade Union Act and roll out sectoral collective bargaining – because the most effective way to maintain good rights at work is collectively through a union.
  • Guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces – so that unions can speak to members and potential members.
  • Propose four new public holidays - bringing our country together to mark our four national patron saints’ days. These will be additional to statutory holiday entitlement so that workers in Britain get the same proper breaks as in other countries.
  • Raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over, so that work pays.
  • End the Public Sector Pay Cap – because public sector workers deserve a pay rise after years of falling wages.
  • Amend the takeover code to ensure every takeover proposal has a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners – because workers shouldn’t suffer when a company is sold.
  • Roll out maximum pay ratios of 20:1 in the public sector and in companies bidding for public contracts – because it cannot be right that wages at the top keep rising while everyone else’s stagnates.
  • Ban unpaid internships – because it’s not fair for some to get a leg up when others can’t afford to.
  • Enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work – so that all workers can be supported when negotiating with their employer.
  • Abolish employment tribunal fees – so that people have access to justice.
  • Double paid paternity leave to four weeks and increase paternity pay – because fathers are parents too and deserve to spend more time with their new babies.
  • Strengthen protections for women against unfair redundancy because no one should be penalised for having children.
  • Hold a public inquiry into blacklisting – to ensure that blacklisting truly becomes and remains a thing of the past.
  • Give equalities reps statutory rights – so they have time to protect workers from discrimination.
  • Reinstate protection against third party harassment – because everyone deserves to be safe at work.
  • Use public spending power to drive up standards, including only awarding public contracts to companies which recognise trade unions.
  • Introduce a civil enforcement system to ensure compliance with gender pay auditing – so that all workers have fair access to employment and promotion opportunities and are treated fairly at work.

A Labour government will ensure Britain abides by the global Labour standards of the ILO conventions.

All workers should be able to work in a safe environment and return to their families at the end of the day. Labour will enforce regulations that save lives.

As well as legislating against zero hours contracts, there are many more workers on short hours contracts (some only guaranteed a few hours per week), but who regularly work far more. We will strengthen the law so that those who work regular hours for more than 12 weeks will have a right to a regular contract, reflecting those hours.

We will also scrap the changes brought in by the Conservatives in 2014 to TUPE, which weakened the protections for workers transferring between contractors, and we will abolish the loophole to the agency workers regulations known as the Swedish derogation.

We will consult with employers and trade unions on legislating for statutory bereavement leave, for time off work after the loss of close family members. We will also consult on toughening the law against assaulting workers who have to enforce laws such as age-related sales or ticketing arrangements, and who face regular abuse.

Labour will maintain the ACAS Early Conciliation System to try to solve workplace issues efficiently, and we will protect the current compromise on Sunday trading hours.

Labour will also legislate to permit secure online and workplace balloting for industrial action votes and internal union elections.

Workers in Britain are among the easiest and cheapest to make redundant, meaning when multinational companies are taking decisions to downsize that British workers are at a disadvantage. We will consult with trade unions and industry on reviewing redundancy arrangements to bring workers in Britain more into line with their European counterparts.

Labour really does have workers' interests at its very heart.

Jamie Stone (Lib Dem)

Response awaited

Paul Monaghan (SNP)

How will you ensure that key, cross-border industries – including energy, telecoms, broadcasting, nuclear, science and aviation – can prosper outside the single market?

The further development of key markets such as energy, telecoms, broadcasting, nuclear, science and aviation, along with many others, are key to the future economic success of Scotland and indeed the UK. To ensure that these markets are protected and developed for the future I believe that a continuing relationship with the European Single Market and European Customs Union are desirable. It is also the case that many of these key markets, including scientific research, require access to the skills, knowledge and expertise of nationals from other countries. If re-elected on 8 June I will work to secure a future where all sectors and industries have the ability to grow, prosper and develop within a framework of partnership, where Scotland and the UK are considered valued partners.

Will you ensure that the UK does not leave Euratom without putting in place equivalent arrangements, including mobility for nuclear specialist staff?

Yes. I believe the Euratom Treaty is critical to the long term success of the nuclear industry. As an Officer of the UK Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group on the Nuclear Industry, I have long argued for a continuing relationship with Euratom. However if the UK Government determines to abandon the Euratom Treaty then it must be replaced with arrangements that are at the very least equivalent. As Member of Parliament in the last parliament I wrote to the Prime Minister several times on this matter and submitted Early Day Motion 905 to highlight the importance of the Euratom Treaty to the nuclear industry.  I will continue to take that course of action in support of those Prospect members that have lobbied me since the Brexit referendum vote. I have already discussed this issue with the NDA and made my concerns clear.

Will you campaign for a nuclear deal that provides a secure future pathway for new build, decommissioning, nuclear R&D and regulation?

I am very active in campaigning to further develop decommissioning, nuclear research and development and regulation. One local initiative was that I arranged for the Ambassador of Japan to visit the Dounreay Civil Nuclear Site to see at firsthand the engineering expertise available and to promote international decommissioning co-operation between Dounreay and TEPCO’s Fukushima plant. Again,  as an Officer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Nuclear Industry, I am very active in promoting the UK’s nuclear skills and argue that our reputation for decommissioning in particular is second to none. I believe that we must now campaign vigorously for appropriate regulation of the industry to secure its future. The sustainability of the nuclear industry, and the skills upon which it relies, is a focus of the ongoing discussions that I have with DSRL and NDA, and I have extended this to staff organisation representatives. I will aim to continue that dialogue and to continue lobbying the UK Government to identify and develop future pathways that are secure, and which can sustain jobs and skills.  

Will you commit to delivering the investment and support necessary to complete the rollout of universal superfast broadband to all areas in the UK by the end of the parliament?

Yes. However I would add mobile connectivity to the rollout of broadband also. As a Member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee I have been very active in arguing for all areas of the UK to receive access to efficient mobile signals and superfast broadband. Indeed, the chair of the committee and I have met with BT Openreach to discuss extensive deficiencies in their service in rural areas. Recently the committee also took evidence from senior directors from Broadband Delivery UK and BT Openreach to press them for details of the technology and service developments that are required to ensure universal superfast broadband in all areas. I also meet regularly with Vodafone, EE, Three, Virgin and other providers to emphasise the continuing need for improved levels of service. Notwithstanding the challenge exerted, these companies have les than encouraging development plans. A significant amount of work is required on their part to secure the objective that rural consumers want and expect.

Because of these deficiencies in existing providers, I have opened dialogue with international providers to encourage them to consider providing broadband and mobile services in our rural areas. There is some interest in this opportunity and I am working to develop it. New technologies such as Li-Fi have also been identified by myself and I am currently working, for example, on a pilot in the Castletown area using this technology in conjunction with a Danish network and Faroese provider. I am determined that my constituency will not be left behind by the UK Government.