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05 Oct 2022

MSP reassures trade unions over abortion clinic buffer zones plan

MSP reassures trade unions over abortion clinic buffer zones plan

The MSP spearheading proposals to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics has sought to reassure union leaders on concerns over the legislation’s potential impact on industrial action.

Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay engaged with trade unions in a roundtable hosted by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) on Friday, where they discussed her proposed action against anti-abortion protesters and the impact it could have on protests and industrial action by workers in the future.

Ms Mackay said she was “very grateful” for the questions posed to her in the meeting, and said she is “very much” looking forward to working with unions “on an ongoing basis”.

She told the PA news agency: “I’ve been very, very clear from the start that the trade unions are not the issue here and trade unions should not be negatively impacted.

She added: “They are interested in trying to make sure that whatever industrial action they may decide to take can happen where they need it to, and that is absolutely my aim and part of the reason I wanted to speak to them about it this morning.

“I’m very grateful for all their questions and very much look forward to working with them on an ongoing basis on this.

“And I look forward to being challenged by them as well because, as I said to them all, I can’t have the experience that each one of their individual unions and each one of the individual members within those unions has, so I have no doubt that there will be times where they may have to come to me and say, ‘look, we don’t think this is going to work for our particular situation’.”

An STUC spokesman told PA: “The STUC was pleased to meet with Gillian Mackay MSP this morning to discuss our support for her Private Members’ Bill.

“The right to protest and the right to freedom of assembly are sacrosanct. We will continue to constructively play our part with Gillian, the Scottish Government and others who support this Bill to ensure there can be no conflation between the right to protest and the right to access safe abortions free from intimidation and abuse.”

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