Friday, 9 April 2021

RURAL WORKERS' PROTEST, #RWP21: Support and the next steps

On behalf of the organisers of #RWP21 (ourselves and Scotland’s regional moorland groups) the SGA office was delighted today to receive the latest response to the Rural Workers’ Protest, this time from Finlay Carson, Scottish Conservatives.


Mr Carson praised the success of the Protest in highlighting the thousands of rural workers whose concerns are often overlooked. He expressed support for accelerated research into salmon decline and also for one of the key asks of #RWP21 - that the Scottish Outdoor Access Code should become part of the Scottish school curriculum. See the 5 ASKS of #RWP21, here: https://news.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk/2021/03/rwp21-5-asks.html



This proposal has also received supportive comments and suggestions from Kate Forbes and Graeme Dey of SNP whilst further positive messages regarding #RWP21 have been received from Fergus Ewing, Alexander Burnett, Edward Mountain, Liz Smith, Murdo Fraser and Oliver Mundell. 


We are grateful to all of them for their responses.


On top of messages of support for the objectives of #RWP21 from 17 political figures across 4 different parties, it seems the Protest, conducted in an honest and constructive manner, reached out beyond party political lines, highlighting some real issues which are of genuine concern to rural workers on river and land.


It has also been encouraging to see the Scottish media and diverse stakeholders from across the countryside expressing an interest in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code being formally taught in schools.



If you agree that the Code should become part of the schools curriculum, take the poll on the home page of the SGA website. It takes 2 seconds and can be found at www.scottishgamekeepers.co.uk
Want to find out how to take the poll? Watch the film below. 



Organisers note that the election manifesto of Alliance for Unity, announced this week, references the need for a policy forum for rural workers at Holyrood. See their manifesto, here: https://www.alliance4unity.uk/manifesto/ This was one of the key asks of the Protest and it is encouraging to see parties developing these themes. We hope others follow suit as we try to make Holyrood a place where the practical knowledge of rural workers, hewn from years of experience on water and land, is given greater credence than at present.


On behalf of the thousands who took part in the Protest, the organisers are determined to ensure that the 5 ASKS are taken forward after the Election by the elected politicians and that the spirit of the Protest results in tangible change and progress.


Following a review by organisers, some initial data has emerged from #RWP21 which we want to share for the benefit of all those who gave up working time to take part, whether they were ghillie-ing for fishing guests, taking bookings for the 2021 seasons, serving customers, prepping for lambing, feeding hungry birds or using the weather window to undertake some planned muirburn.


The Media reach of #RWP21 was 2.24 million people (print, online, broadcast)

Social media reach was over 1.8 million people

5213 people added #RWP21 frames/Twibbons to profile pages

Over 3100 people posted individual posts using the #RWP21 hashtag

Over 8000 people referenced #RWP21 as part of posts

The 5 key ASKS were delivered to all Scottish politicians along with the ‘Grow the Protest’ statement, which was signed by 2172 people in a matter of days.

#RWP21 responses and endorsements have been received, so far, from 26 politicians.