AS convener of the SNP Trade Union Group I was appalled by the recent article in The National (“Questions for Unison official as Labour and Unionist link revealed”) quoting an unnamed SNP source taking issue with a decision of Unison’s Local Government Negotiating Committee regarding strike action.

Stephen Smellie, depute convenor of Unison Scotland, is absolutely right to condemn this as an outrageous slur (“It’s nonsense to suggest Unison school strike is linked to party bias”, September 25).

The executive committee of the SNP Trade Union Group believes strongly that the democratic structures of Scotland's trade unions are a matter for Scotland's trade unions and their members.

Current employment and trade union laws are being imposed on Scottish workers by Westminster and are the most draconian in Western Europe. Consequently, the bar that needs to be crossed to win a majority in a strike ballot is extraordinarily high.

Given that reality, the suggestion made by an anonymous source from my party implying that Unison members are simple souls being duped, Svengali-like, by a senior union official is not only insulting but reveals an embarrassing lack of understanding of how industrial relations are undertaken in Scotland is 2023. That sort of decision is made by a committee of union members, collectively.

The notion that the contemporary Scottish trade union movement is a glove puppet of the Labour Party, or any other party, is simply untrue.

Additionally, more than 40 years’ worth of academic research shows that a consistent feature in the pro-independence demographic is that the further down the socioeconomic scale you go, the greater the support for Scottish self-determination. Consequently, support for independence has grown considerably over the past decade, and in particular among Scottish trade union members.

It is common among some independence activists who have little or no experience of trade union activism not to appreciate that trade unions are there to accommodate and recognise the views of all of their members. That applies whether those trade unionists are independence supporters, members of no fixed view on the matter or members of a Unionist persuasion.

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If that was not fully understood by some union officials before the 2014 referendum, they understood it very clearly by the end of that campaign – and have since amended their behaviours appropriately.

Indeed many leading Scottish trade unionists who were not and are not SNP members then have since made no secret of their support for Scottish statehood, if not the SNP.

As the largest affiliate body within the SNP, the Trade Union Group stands in solidarity with our Unison colleagues and their democratically determined struggle for decent pay, conditions and public services – not least the large number of low-paid women workers it represents.

If the unnamed SNP source in the original article wishes to reach out I am more than happy, in confidence of course, to discuss the matter further and put the record straight.

Bill Ramsay is the convener of the SNP Trade Union Group, the party's largest affiliate body representing some 12,000 members.