UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK



Siu Index
April/May 2007 No 66

Support resistance on both sides, Israel and Palestine

UNISON spearheaded a call at the STUC for increased efforts by the UK to take forward the Middle East peace process in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

Reiterating the call for Israeli withdrawal from Palestine, UNISON's Mike Kirby said, "We say to Britain, Europe and the USA, you cannot pick and choose UN resolutions".

Mike pointed to the human cost. 152 people have been killed in Gaza this year, including 10 children. 988 have been wounded, including 68 children. In occupied Palestine 162,000 public service workers have not been paid for 11 months - the same number as all the UNISON members in Scotland.

"Why?", asked Mike. "Because the US and Europe have blocked payments to the Palestinian Authority because the people of Palestine have exercised their democratic right to elect a government of their choosing.

"We must wish the new unity government well. Hamas with whatever policy is part of that government. It is not the government", added Mike. The EU, Israel, US and British governments had no right to "impose a collective punishment" on the people of Palestine by withdrawing funds. But the effects are also felt in Israel and there is resistance in Israel.

Municipal workers striking because they've not been paid. The war economy means 20% of Israelis are below the poverty line. Mike spoke of an "Enough!" conference recently where a farmer from the West Bank whose land has been taken by the 'wall', urged everyone "to support the resistance on both sides - in Israel and in Palestine - against the occupation.

And an Israeli ex-pilot said, "Without pressure, without sanctions, we have no chance to end the occupation to end the mutual suffering of all the people. After many years, I eventually learned to say 'no'". Mike called for twinning with PGFTU unions and to explain our position to Israeli trade unions.

Support Iraqi unions

The STUC will call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and an end to the violence that has cost the lives of hundreds of trade unionists and academics.

UNISON's Stephen Smellie urged the STUC to stand side by side with Iraqi trade unions who oppose the privatisation of their country's oil and who are being murdered and terrorised as a result. Stephen slammed the Iraqi government and US forces for persecuting trade unions, attacking their offices and intimidating their activists.

"When trade unions are under attack it is our duty as trade unionists to show solidarity. "You cannot have a democratic society without a free and democratic trade union movement", he said. UNISON is providing training support to Iraqi unions.

Lift Cuba blockade

Cubans must be allowed to decide the Cuban future and not the USA through international boycotts, UNISON's Jane Carolan told the STUC. As Cuba's economy revives through partnerships with Venezuela and other countries, the US boycott has intensified to the extent that the American Hilton hotels group was turning away Cuban nationals in the UK. The US blockade "denies basic goods and services to Cuban people", said Jane. "We need to demand that our government demands the end of the boycott"

headlines . top