UNISON’s Davena Rankin brought greetings from the TUC Women’s Committee, standing in from Chair, Philipa Harvey who was unable to attend.
Davena promised not to say much about Brexit but warned that crashing out without a deal will not protect our public services, it will not protect our workers’ rights and it will not protect our equalities legislation.
“It would risk everything we’ve had to fight hard for.
“May’s deal was a bad deal for workers and Johnson’s deal is even worse and the TUC women’s committee are clear that any deal needs to protect equalities legislation and workers’ rights.”
She spoke about the work programme for the TUC Women’s Committee which she described as “challenging,” focussing on pay equality, income, public services and the welfare state, including tackling period poverty, and tackling bullying and harassment including sexual harassment.
“In November, the TUC women’s committee will host the annual Women’s Council of the Isles. This brings together the women’s committees of the TUC, STUC, Welsh TUC and the island of Ireland joint women’s committee.
“We have a lot in common and this meeting allows us to highlight what is happening in each of the countries and look for areas of joint work.”
To a hushed hall Davena concluded by talking about the Women’s Committee delegation to Palestine which focused on the impact that the occupation was having on women and children.
“They heard harrowing stories of how there was nowhere that was deemed off limits by the security forces and as a result there was nowhere that children could feel safe and protected from attacks both physical and emotional.
“The delegation met peace activists, lecturers, teachers, journalists, academics and family members who had lost loved ones who all openly shared their stories and asked that their voices be heard back in the UK so that their stories could be recorded without the spin of the Israeli state painting them as terrorists.”
Davena added that one of the bus drivers who the delegation met asked the following:
‘Please go back and tell people in your country about us. Please tell them that we are not terrorists…We are not anti-Semitic. Tell them we are not victims… We are resisting the occupation. Please tell them about what is happening in Palestine.’
“That is what we are doing,” said Davena.
Reports by UNISON Scotland Communications and Campaigns Committee from Kate Ramsden in Perth.