THE First Minister has encouraged all workers in Scotland to join a union as he attended the Scottish Trades Union Congress annual conference in Dundee.

Speaking to The National on Tuesday, Humza Yousaf (below) said he would always encourage workers to join a trade union after the support he has received from them during his lifetime.

The National: “I would absolutely encourage workers to join a trade union,” Yousaf said.

“I have benefitted from the personal support – not just professional support – of trade unions over my lifetime, particularly in standing up against hatred.”

Yousaf said he was not currently a member of a union due to the potential conflict of interest which may arise with his position as First Minister, but confirmed he did belong to a union whilst working as a parliamentary researcher.

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It comes as the First Minister gave a speech to delegates at the STUC annual congress, where he thanked the trade union movement for “all that you do in Scotland”.

During his speech, Yousaf said trade unionists had supported him in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, which saw a rise in instances of Islamophobia.

He also thanked delegates for the “support and kindness” the trade union movement has shown towards both himself and wife Nadia El-Nakla whilst their family were trapped in Gaza, and for the movement’s historic solidarity with Palestine.

Speaking to The National, the First Minister said the STUC and the trade union movement more generally had been “absolutely unequivocal in providing moral clarity” over the need for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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“This is an issue that, I’m afraid, often hasn’t seen moral clarity. We’ve had that from the trade union voice and I’m very supportive of what trade unions do for workers and the equality and social solidarity that they bring here at home and abroad.”

Addressing the STUC congress earlier on Tuesday, the First Minister said: “The Scottish Government and the STUC have stood shoulder-to-shoulder, offering a moral clarity and vital political pressure when many others have all too often equivocated.

“With continued uncertainty in the Middle East, I know that the message leaving your conference this week is as strong as ever.”

The First Minister added: “What we don’t need is politicians talking up war – what we do need is those who truly believe in peace to be empowered to deliver it.

“Whether you are Palestinian, whether you are Israeli, it is working men and working women, not the political class, who pay the price for war, and that is unacceptable.”