An SNP trade union group has hit out at a deal between Holyrood and Westminster to build new green freeports in Scotland.
Kate Forbes confirmed on Monday two of the free economic zones would be introduced north of the border in a major £52 million agreement.
SNP ministers initially opposed establishing the freeports but relented after lengthy negotiations with the Tories.
The Scottish Government claimed they will have a better say over which bids are accepted to ensure the ports are environmentally friendly.
But the party’s TUG trade union has joined the Scottish Greens in speaking out against the controversial deal.
The group had originally set six conditions to be met before any freeport agreement should be approved.
These included ensuring all firms have to meet net zero targets, pay workers the living wage and recognise staff unions.
‘Dangerous unregulated backwater’
Convenor Bill Ramsay fears the freeports could open a “dangerous unregulated backdoor into the Scottish economy”.
He told The Herald: “We have concerns about the introduction of freeports in Scotland.
“We of course recognise that as long as Scotland is part of the UK any Scottish devolved administration has a duty to work with the UK Government.
“On the face of it, the decision to do a deal with the UK Government on these deregulated zones risks undermining devolution and opening a dangerous unregulated backdoor into the Scottish economy.
“We will be raising this at the SNP’s National Executive Committee.”
Scottish Greens finance spokesperson Ross Greer branded the deal a “corporate giveaway” despite his party being in government with the SNP.
He said: “The Scottish Greens won’t have anything to do with the establishment of these so-called green freeports.
“To be clear this is just greenwashing, there’s nothing genuinely green about them.
“Freeports are a really effective way to give tax relief and to throw public money at multinational companies who are already doing their best to avoid tax.”
The move was also opposed by transport union RMT as they slammed the SNP for signing up to it.
‘Freeports are fatally flawed’
General secretary Mick Lynch said: “Freeports are fatally flawed because they will be operated in private not public interests, and it’s sad to see the SNP Government fall for this confidence trick by Boris Johnson’s ultra-capitalist Tories.
“England’s freeports have yet to create a single job and it looks like Scotland’s green freeports would hand tax breaks, public subsidy and more strategic control of Scotland’s ports network to employers who have seen profits increase during the pandemic.
“If the Scottish Government wants to make this work for Scotland’s workers, they must include trade unions in designing the bidding process.”
Freeports are a Thatcherite gimmick, a surefire way to attract money-laundering and an unjustified giveaway to multinational corporations.
— Ross Greer (@Ross_Greer) February 14, 2022