Trade union and community activists argued the toss over Scotland's constitutional future on Saturday at the first of a new series of STUC public consultations - but agreed the union body had given the debate a much-needed boost.
Around 250 people took part in the event, which was chaired by political journalist Keith Aitken in Glasgow City Chambers.
STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said the debate about Scotland's future was too important to be left to the politicians alone.
He joked that he had been accused of "associating with separatist running dogs" but argued that "politicians need to convince on the basis of their vision for Scotland."
The Church of Scotland's church and society council convener Sally Foster Fulton said: "The future of Scotland will come into being regardless - but the decision must be the people's decision.
"I can tell you whose side we're on. On that question, we couldn't be more clear," said Ms Fulton.
"We are on the side of the poor, the marginalised, the vulnerable - the people who have lost their voice in society, the ones who are desperate for a new and different way forward.
Labour MSP for Dumbarton Jackie Baillie, representing the Better Together campaign, said more powers for the Scottish Parliament could help tackle child poverty but warned corporation tax cuts in an independent Scotland would be "engaging in a race to the bottom."
Tasmina Ahmed Sheik of Yes Scotland said that independence was the best option.
"We are together now and we are not better. The status quo is just not good enough."
STUC economist Stephen Boyd, leading a workshop on tax justice, said: "In the debate about economic powers for the Scottish Parliament there has been a lot of economic orthodoxy, lots of talk about corporation tax and almost nothing about the falling wage share.
"That's what we have to tackle if we want to address inequality."
Glasgow Trades Union Council chairwoman Jennifer McCarey said: "We have to squeeze the different propositions on offer to see if they will deliver for working people.
"The question is how are we going to reform the financial system so wealth is redistributed fairly," said Ms McCarey.
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