Speaking at the annual STUC conference in Edinburgh, Mr McConnell said: 'This has been a year of new opportunities for the STUC and individual trade unions to become involved at the heart of the decision making in a devolved Scotland.
'The budget consultation launched today by the first minister and I provides anther opportunity for unions to become part of our vision of an open and accessible parliament, a chance for them to get involved in the budget process.
'The executive is already working with trade unions in a number of areas and the possibility of commenting on the overall priorities of public spending in Scotland is another good example of that partnership.
'I would urge them to seize the chance to influence decisions on the executive's spending plans for the future and in so doing, make a valuable contribution to the way the£17.7bn in the public purse for 2001/2002 is spent.'
1 The Scottish executive's spending plans are set out in its annual expenditure report, Investing In You, consultation on the spending plans with parliament, its committees the general public and organisations will take place over the next few months.