David Hammond, the West Sussex Branch’s International Officer recently attended a conference for his union peers in Sheffield. Here he talks us through UNISON’s important and influential role fighting for workers’ rights across the globe.
“We chose three of the most serious campaigns to discuss and agreed measures we could take to support them. The first – led by the independent ‘Palestine Solidarity Campaign’ – told us how families in East Jerusalem were being illegally forced out of their homes. This could be by demolition, settler takeover or pseudo-legal tactics. Israel has taken control of West Bank water supplies, so Palestinians have to buy-back water from Israeli settlements. Israel continues to ignore UN resolutions calling on them to remove the separation wall and compensate Palestinians.
“Secondly: Colombia continues to be the most violent place on Earth for trade unionists, with over 3,000 activists killed in the past 30 years. Both public and private sector workers are subject to brutal anti-union policies, making it almost impossible to join a union. UNISON has helped secure the release of political prisoners, and forced the British Government to stop ignoring the Columbian human rights crisis. But there are still 4,000 political prisoners there.
“Lastly, UNISON is calling on Qatar to overhaul its ‘slave-like’ employment system known as ‘Kafala’. We’re working with the TUC to raise awareness of the plight of migrant workers across the Gulf States, especially as the 2022 World Cup gets closer.
“Our struggles at home are often the same struggles faced by trade unionists in other countries. They are sometimes desperate for our support and we should not let them down. We never know when we might need their help in the future.”
David’s full report is attached here.