Unemployment in Cunninghame South is too high and a common complaint is that we just don't have enough jobs locally. Local people need opportunities to find work and I want to help create them.
It hurts to see local jobs go over the last few months. Highly skilled jobs at HOWCO are gone with more expected at AMP Control and i-Tek.
Jobs at Red Cross House and Hazeldene Horticulture lost as the services close.
And don't forget the hundreds of jobs that have been lost at North Ayrshire Council as a result of cuts.
Things can and must change.
I want to see a proper industrial strategy for Scotland which can rejuvenate areas like North Ayrshire and I am pleased that Scottish Labour is serious about this. Our plan for a Work and Trade Union Bill recognises the positive role of trade unions in the economy, in creating better workplaces, increasing productivity and building a fair economy. A new agency, Skills Scotland, will be established in partnership with unions and employers and co-chaired by a nominee of the STUC. It will bring together employment services and skills services, including the new powers over the Work Programme.
This is a real plan for jobs.
As an MSP I will also work to make workers co-operatives a viable option for workers like those at AMP Control and Red Cross House who face losing their jobs because their place of work is closing.
For over thirty years, Marcora Law has given redundant workers in Italy the right to transfer their accumulated unemployment benefit into capital so they could buy out their company and create a workers co-operative.
It is an approach that has safeguarded thousands of jobs, created thousands more and the state has not only saved on unemployment payments but has saw a substantial return on their investment, which can then be reinvested in services or indeed other ways to provide co-operatives.
This is bold. It's radical. It’s democratic. And it's something I want to help deliver here in Scotland.
This is a vision and a plan for jobs. However, there's one pledge that I can categorically give to the people of Cunninghame South if they elect me and that is I will bring job opportunities to them through an annual Employment Fair.
Former Labour MSP Margaret McDougall held two very successful Employment Fair's in Irvine during her time as a West of Scotland MSP. They brought employers and training providers together to offer those looking for work opportunities. I will build on that by bringing an Employment Fair to the constituency every year, rotating it between Irvine, Kilwinning and Stevenston.
I will try and get as wide a range of job opportunities as possible to each event but I will have a particular focus on ensuring that the jobs on offer pay a Living Wage and are not zero hour contracts. As many people will know, I value decent work as much as the jobs themselves.