At the recent UNISON NEC National Delegates Conference their were number of internatinal speakers.
Photo is of Dave Auger, International officer and Chris Cooper with Cesar Loza and Hector Vaca USO Columbia
Here's a report from the International Rally.
The General Secretary noted that UNISON has been involved in 95 projects worldwide and outlined some of the work carried out both at home and abroad.
Gonul Erden from Trade Union of Employees in Public Health and Social Services, SES Turkey.
Gonul shared that the country was now the scene of many conflicts following a coup de tat and decreasing trade union rights and Human Rights. Turkey first declared a state of emergency for 3 months. This has now been extended to 36 months. Parliament cannot effectively function. Citizens are now under pressure from policies and the crisis has lea to an early election. Candidates have been imprisoned and this cannot be a fair election. Trade Unions have experienced problems after 150 thousand public sector workers, with no access to legal support with no explanation, ten’s of thousands of trade unionists have been imprisoned, half of union members have been forced to resign under Government policies. The union remains upbeat and will continue to fight for the right and others and members remain buoyed and encouraged by those who gave their lives over 100 years of struggle.
Jeonghee Jyun from Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union
UNISON sent messages of support and video messages and solidarity videos. Workers are fighting for peace and unification and the right to have access to Korean brothers and sisters. 2 years ago a candle light uprising resulted in both presidents being jailed while the original sitting President was freed. This was thanks to international efforts by UNISON and a number of trade unions. Jeonghee sent messages of support on behalf of the union to Turkish comerads and stated that Korea knows that things can get better.
Jeonghee stated that the new government was making progress but workers rights must improve. Promises of workers having access to the minimum wage but pro
mises have only worsened. This threatens all workers and rally’s have been held regularly from May. Promises to regularise precarious employed (zero hours and agency) workers have not been met but there is much work to do. Jeonghee reminded us all that public services are a public right and we should join together to fight to keep services public.
The rally was then addressed by Cezar and Fernando Gonzalez USO, Columbia representing the Petrol Workers Trade Union. Cezar noted that Presidential elections were held. The options were a Socialist option or a far right option pro business and pro war. Unfortunately the far right won. Despite the result, 8 million voted for the alternative candidate paving thee way for the future where a trade union movement will play a vital role. The new extreme right wing President has a desire to work against the peace process which had ben entered into with the government and FARC. The President wants to force through change in order to deport “suspected drug traffickers” to America. In truth, social leaders will be under threat from the new government. Many now feel that their lives are at risk and only 6% belong to a trade union. Large numbers are on casual contracts with little or no workers rights. The President plans to increase privatisation. Cezar asks that UNISON continue to advertise what is happening and to continue to support the peace process with the international support of the trade union movement.
Sandro Alex De Oliveria Cezar – National Confederation of Social Security Workers represents 2.5 million Social Security Workers. This covers; health; Social Security, Care and the private sector. He wanted to share sad moments that Brazil is going through. People had overcome extreme poverty which was done with the implementation of “favourable policies.” He was in no doubt that the Brazilian trade union movement wanted to highlight to the world what Lula Da Silva means for the people as a symbol of hope as was evidenced by polls held 2 months after his imprisonment. An imprisonment that served only the bourgoise. 70% are excluded from the development process. Da Silva ensured that there were more university places for the poor. He oversaw the access to political office for a woman who has since been jailed for the crime of changing a budget to give access to the poor.