SCOTLAND’S trade union movement is poised to officially back a second independence referendum when the STUC put the issue to a vote at its annual congress next month.

A 14-page strategy document, leaked to the Sunday National, has been drawn up and approved by the organisation’s general council for the event and covers three areas – the pandemic crisis and its impact on workers, economic recovery and “a Scotland Fit for the Future”.

Within the third section, the paper sets out its position on self-determination arguing the case for a new referendum is “unanswerable” if “there is evidence of a majority in support of independence” and if the new 2021 Parliament holds a majority of members in favour of a second referendum.

“The STUC has always held to the principle of self-determination for the people of Scotland. We cannot pre-ordain the outcome of the necessary democratic processes to give self-determination effect, but the Scottish people are sovereign,” it says.

The paper then goes on to underline its concerns over the UK Government’s intention to increase direct spending in Scotland, which the paper argues is a part of wider attempts to weaken the devolution settlement in the post-Brexit era, which it believes would have a negative impact on the lives of Scottish workers.

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“Public services desperately require more funding, but the intention of the UK Government to increase direct spending in Scotland in areas of devolved competency is a clear attempt to weaken the devolution settlement,” it says.

“We will oppose any moves which reduce the powers of the Parliament as well as campaigning for the extension of devolution in agreed areas such as employment law, equalities and aspects of immigration.

“The Single Market Act threatens Scottish devolution through overriding our Parliament’s agency over state aid, procurement, environmental protection and food standards.”

It adds: “”These are key powers with the potential to change the lives of working- class people for the better. Without these powers, fair work and a plan for jobs in transport and renewables will be harder to achieve.

“Alongside motions on climate change and industrial democracy, the greatest number of motions submitted to the postponed Congress were on the subject of self-determination.

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“If, come May 2021, there is evidence of a majority in support of independence and if the new Parliament holds a majority of members in favour of a second referendum, the case for a further poll will become unanswerable.”

The paper concludes it is unlikely the STUC will favour either a Yes or No position, but said it would “engage actively” in any future campaign.

“Whilst it is difficult at this point to imagine the trade union movement in Scotland emerging with a consensus for a particular option in a future referendum, we will engage actively in the constitutional debate based on the interests of working-class people.

“The ultimate test for the proponents of all options is their commitment to radical economic and social change. No-one in Scotland can afford to wait for the outcome of a future referendum, rebuilding the economy and the people’s recovery must begin now.”

A union insider said the STUC’s position would heap pressure on Richard Leonard to reverse Labour’s opposition to a new vote.