International Officer: Vacant International Archive
Why does UNISON get involved in international activity?
Britain's economy and political system are interdependent with Europe and the rest of the world. In the current economic climate as we are all engaged in the struggle to protect our public services it is vital that UNISON works with sister trade unions in other countries and through key international organisations to promote and protect members' interests and concerns.
You probably take for granted the right to access this website, to meet and discuss work problems or politics. But trade unionists in many other countries risk intimidation and even death for active membership in a union. Solidarity - joining together with others who share a common interest - is the very basis of trade unionism, and it shouldn't stop at national borders.
Conor McArdle attended this annual seminar on behalf of the branch.
This year's seminar featured sessions on trade agreements, Palestine, Swaziland, Colombia and Qatar. There was also a session featuring the work of branch activists who have been part of delegations over the past couple of years on issues such as Nicaragua, Philippines, India (Bhopal) and Cuba.
Conor's report to the branch committee covers:
Philippines Stop Glencore's Deadly Mine
Palestine MPs have voted 274 to 12 recognise the state of Palestine.
Colombia Colombia continues to be the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist or social movement leader.
Conor McArdle's report to the Branch Committee includes:
Conor's April report includes:
The New Frontlines of War: Corporations, Conflict and Community Resistance
Feedback from the meeting hosted jointly by UNISON and War on Want.
Visa refused for member of Cuban Five to visit UK
An international commission of inquiry on 7 and 8 March in London into the case of the Cuban Five (Miami Five in the UK) went ahead without the principal witness being there to give his testimony.
Tesco's Western Sahara 'conflict tomatoes'
Why they are called 'conflict tomatoes' and why you should call on Tesco to remove them from their stores.
Peru Water Privatisation
The Peruvian Congress has approved a law which will place water and sanitation services, which are essential for human life and health, into private hands, turning a fundamental human right into a commodity.
UNISON Northern are hosting the Newcastle leg of War on Want’s #Frontlines tour, with speakers from Nigeria, Colombia, Palestine and the UK.
Join us for an inspirational evening to hear from our international speakers about their inspirational stories of resistance against human rights abuses through education and active campaigns. Find out about corporate abuses, struggles over the control of resources and the aggressive spread of militarism across the world- and what YOU can do about it.
Conor McArdle's nomination for Branch International Officer is unopposed so there will not be an election to this post at the Branch AGM on 10 February 2014.
Here is Conor's's assessment of the challenges facing the branch in the coming year.
International solidarity has been a key component of our branch’s work for many years as we recognise that in a globalised world of multinational employers, the struggle for worker’s rights increasingly goes beyond a country’s borders. The trade union movement is therefore a worldwide family; we forge links so we can campaign, learn and grow stronger together.
As the Conservatives maintain their pressure on local government, this year will be difficult for the branch on a number of levels. The challenge for the International Officer is to ensure international solidarity maintains its relevance in times of austerity at home. In order to do this, my role will be to continue to demonstrate the importance of our international activity at both branch and regional level.
Our branch’s priority international areas are Colombia, Palestine and Cuba. Last year saw us support the region’s successful projects working with organisations within the south-west Valle del Cauca region of Colombia. It is my intention to continue to work closely with the region in this area and provide updates on the project’s progress. It is also my intention to help organise a regional event around Palestine before the summer.
In terms of our branch activity, I will continue to provide reports to Branch Committee around international issues. I will also arrange themed meetings across each of our priority areas in order to encourage other members to get involved.
A death threat has been left at the office of War on Want’s partner organisation Nomadesc. The note specifically threatens the lives of four human rights defenders: Berenice Celeita and Olga Araujo of Nomadesc; Alfamir Castillo of the Women Sugar Cane Cutters Committee and Martha Giraldo of the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes. It states that all four will be punished with death.
Please take action at: http://www.waronwant.org/overseas-work/conflict-zones/17994-protect-our-colombian-partners
The forum met on 11th November at the Regional Office. Phil Lenton gave a presentation on the Jafra Foundation’s work in the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp in Damascus, Syria. Phil is due to visit Lebanon in December and will provide further details on how we, as a region, can help give Palestinian refugees a voice.
We have also committed to holding an event around Palestine next year with War on Want.
UNISON has sent a message of support and sincere condolences to all those across the Philippines suffering from the devastation caused by the typhoon.
The union has made a donation of £10,000 to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), and has contacted our sister unions in the region. General Secretary Dave Prentis said: "We're sending a message of support to all those in the Philippines whose lives have been devastated, and solidarity to the public service workers working so hard to clear up the wreckage."
By signing up to a union-backed Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh UNISON members are among the thousands who have written to support Bangladeshi factory workers by urging high street brands to improve safety and working conditions in their factories.
River Island and Matalan have signed up to the accord since the petition started, joining more than 80 other brands, including H+M, Zara, Next, Primark, New Look and Debenhams - but six brands still need convincing.
"All workers should have the right to go to work safe in the knowledge that they will return home unharmed," says UNISON head of health and safety Tracey Harding.
"We are urging our members to sign this petition and remind high street retailers that they have a moral duty to look after the safety of workers, regardless of what part of the world they live and work in.
"If we all sign up we can make a real difference to the health and safety of others."
You can help by sending an email to one, or more, of the brands which have still to sign the accord by using the TUC Going to Work website.
‘There is no Palestinian issue for Syrian rebels’: http://rt.com/op-edge/palestine-conflict-syria-rebels-509/
'Syria is not a revolution anymore – this is civil war': http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/syria-revolution-civil-war-conflict-rivalry
‘Drone Wars’: http://www.redpepper.org.uk/drone-wars/
‘Community Leader Killed in Colombia’: http://www.colombiasolidarity.org.uk/urgent-actions/609-urgent-action-community-leader-killed-others-at-risk
You can read Conor McCardle's full report to December's Branch Committee here.
15-21 May 2017. The theme this year is Curious and Creative for Learning at Work Week.
Starting 24 April 2017, these courses can be done online or paper based.
Branch nominations and ballot details.
This newsletter includes an update on the changes to the Bereavement Support Payment as well as contact details for ‘Down to Earth’, who provide practical and emotional support throughout the funeral process.
Winners in March.
Executive pay bandwagon rolls on
Cycle courier entitled to holiday pay
Employment law changes this April
New minimum wage rates kick in
UK lags on maternity
Merger heralds new teaching union
Consultation on caste discrimination
New courses for members and stewards.
Inflation leaps to 3.2%
More regulation of gig economy needed
Appalling risk of suicides in construction
Fat cats — the great pay divide
Racist abuse after Brexit vote
Lack of diversity at top in Wales
Papers for the meeting on Monday 3 April.
Meeting on Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 4.30pm.
Nottinghamshire Police have taken the bold step to identify misogyny as a hate crime and Northern UNSION are keen for this to be replicated in our region. The aim of the event is to identify how we can move the issue forward across the region with all three Police and Crime Commissioners.
Swings and scooters of inflation basket
No real improvement in weekly earnings
Cosmetic improvement with Living Wage
Zero-hours contracts at record high
Unemployment falls below 1.6 million
Agenda and annual report.
Economic forecasts in Hammond's Budget
Mixed fortunes in ethnic women's pay gap data
Company merger and acquisitions in 2016
Numbers on zero-hours contracts at a high
GMB take on DX delivery firm
Former chancellor's nice big earner
Charter to stop violence at work
Saturday 25 March. Hear grassroots, union and guest speakers and watch the Reel News film showing the Durham Teaching Assistants’ story.
Saturday 25 March, to plan UNISON LGBT activities for the year ahead.
A joint training session for trade union and community activists on how to organise to defeat the politics of division. 18 March 2017.
March calendar of events and activities.
Trade Union Act regs come into force
Gender pension gap leaves women short
Violence at work — the nasty truth
Bookseller's £7m salary
Money purchase pension are norm
British Gas denied appeal in Lock case
Government fails in ethnicity review
Papers for the meeting on Monday 6 March.
Papers for the retired members' meeting on 17 March.
Winners in February.
Morning seminar and afternoon remembrance service in Hartlepool on Friday 28 April 2017. There is also an Eve of WMD ‘Gig’ on Thursday 27 April.
Government green paper on pensions
A 'Stern diet' for fat cat directors' pay
Employers — don't miss out on talent
Argos repays £2.4 million to 37,000 staff
Economic growth revised upwards
Work fears of disabled people revealed
Migrants have helped make Britain. It’s time to celebrate us
NHS at breaking point, according to British Medical Association
Councils prepare to cut essential services to fund adult social care
London transport spending equivalent to £1,500 more per head than North East
Minimum wage cheats named and shamed
Inflation hits three-year high
Unemployment at 11-year low
Inflation erodes growth in weekly earnings
Migrants are always the scapegoats. But now they’re taking on Ukip’s lies
I, Daniel Blake is a realistic depiction of life on benefits. Isn’t it?
English social care system for elderly facing 'complete collapse'
North East peers want law to make Government investigate impact of Brexit on region
North East recruitment drive revealed as jobless total in region rises
UK employment growth driven by foreign nationals, figures show
The NHS needs a rethink. Its priorities no longer make sense
Top Labour politicians come to 'UKIP area' Sunderland for Brexit debates and festival
Rothbury Community Hospital inpatient ward closure public meeting this week
Shopping will cost you more as prices rise, but is Brexit to blame?
Campaigners calling for u-turn over Post Office move
UK labour shortages reported as EU worker numbers fall
Britons living in the EU face Brexit backlash, leaked paper warns
Then the Daily Mail came for Gary Lineker, and we said: ‘Enough!’
Brexit survey revealed: What you would do if given second shot at EU referendum
Booming gig economy costs £4bn in lost tax and benefit payouts, says TUC
There will be a shameful betrayal of the Brexit low-paid
Welcome to the new dark ages, where only the wealthy can retire
NHS 'pays £7.5m a year for 20 most expensive agency doctors'
Drive to bring health and social care together is a well-intentioned mess
Sunderland, 19/20 May 2017.
Sign Language (BSL) Introduction, 2 March 2017
Dementia Workshop, 30 March 2017
Regional Education Calendar 2017
A&E in England had worst delays ever in January, leak suggests
Why was Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes the star of Prime Minister's questions?
Number of patients stuck in hospital 'far higher than NHS data shows'
It's time corporate tax dodgers started losing lucrative council contracts
More council housing needed in the North East - government report reveals
Council tax, youth funding and bins: 6 things to look out for from Sunderland budget meeting
TyneMet and South Tyneside colleges merger: What it means for jobs, campuses and its new name?
Review of tribunal fees finally published
Plan to tackle abusive hiring practices
Insecure work on rise
Twenty eight directors share £68.37 million
A list of affiliations and donations that the branch committee has approved since January 2015.
UK faces return to inequality of Thatcher years, says report
NHS ID scheme could deter eligible patients, say MPs
Councils may cut social care provision due to underfunding, LGA says
Nursery schools: ‘What society gives children less chance than their parents?’
Council tax rise planned for Northumberland residents as authority faces £36m cuts
'Trump can't hack Trebs' - the best signs from Newcastle anti-Trump demonstration
Racism at work
Economy grows but there's a shortfall
Advice on gender pay gap from Acas
Tories offer no solution on discrimination
Eight assaults a day in Welsh schools
A quarterly periodical updating branch reps on employment law.
Winners in January.
Northern Region Young Members AGM
UNISON Northern Region Black Members Forum AGM 2017.
Discounted car insurance for UNISON members.
In Newcastle on Saturday 4 February.
Papers for the meeting on 6 February.
Death by a thousand fire service cuts
Guidance on stress
Modern-day slave traders jailed
Fees let bad bosses get off scot free
Top-ranked inclusive employers 2017
Get tough on pay, says pension funds
Agenda and nomination form for the mmeting on 4 February.
Annual Meeting of the Regional Disabled Members Self Organised Group on Tuesday 31 January 2017.
Mental Health Awareness Workshop on Thursday 16 February.
Wales to ditch parts of 2016 Trade Union Act
Inflation rates at highest since 2014
Retail inflation eating into earnings growth
UK unemployment at nine-year low
Public sector pay poised to fall by thousands in real terms, TUC says
May’s promise on workers’ rights is hollow if she doesn’t get a deal
NHS crisis: the one act of self-sacrifice that could rescue our health service
Politicians have ignored the working class for too long
World's eight richest people have same wealth as poorest 50%
Crisis, what NHS crisis? Theresa May must stop this denial
Welsh government tables bill to overturn Trade Union Act
UNISON have now been allocated two spots on the 16 January to have guided tours around the Anne Frank exhibition.
Courier's tribunal win against CitySprint
TUC warns over Brexit threat to workers' rights
Lame excuses for not paying minimum wage
High street store fined over safety
Manufacturing output edges higher
Child poverty briefing
Winners in December.
Consultation on political fund review: December-January
We are having our first Reading Ahead launch at Welford Learning Zone on 11 January between 10am and 11am.
Book now to secure your place on one of the courses for Reps at Newcastle College starting in January 2017.
UNISON courses in 2017. These courses are free and open to all members unless otherwise stated.
'Precarious pay penalty' of zero-hours staff
Plans for a Universal Basic Income
2017 — economic forecasts for year
'Fat Cat Wednesday' has been and gone
Northern Ireland to reveal political gifts
UK's deficit in trade in goods gets ever worse
UK economic growth revised upwards