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Date: Mon 18 April 2005

UNISON urges union backing for G8 protests

Mike Kirby, Scottish Convenor of UNISON, today (Monday) urged Scottish Trade unionists to rally behind the scheduled protests planned to greet the G8 summit taking place at Gleneagles in July, and accused the British Government and European Commission of using loans to force developing countries to privatise basic services such as the provision of clean water.

His comments came at an STUC Congress fringe meeting in Dundee, organised by War on Want, the international development charity, and echoed similar calls by the STUC General Secretary, Bill Speirs, and speakers from other unions, including the STUC president, Anne Douglas in her opening address to the STUC Congress.

"As Scotland's largest union," Mike said, "UNISON is proud that we are already committed to the largest possible mobilisation of our members for the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh on July 2."

UNISON has 150,000 Scottish members and its Scottish Committee agreed last weekend to back the protests. The union has also agreed to back other activity around the G8 summit, including the G8 Alternatives seminar on July 3 and the blockade of Faslane, called by CND on July 4.

Mike said "UNISON has a history of backing international campaigns, and it looks like our other trade union colleagues are also backing this important campaign to get the rich nations to drop their demands for huge interest payments and the political blackmail of enforced privatisation of basic services like clean water. This means the poorest communities fail to get connected, or are forced to pay exhorbitant prices, as the private companies 'cherry pick the profitable neighbourhoods."


[Note - The War on Want fringe meeting will take place at 5.45pm on Monday 18 April in Room 3 in the Caird Hall - Dundee. Further detail on UNISON's comments on enforced Water privatisation can be obtained from our website - http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/waterday.html