Foodbanks: Solidarity not charity

Sarah Collins
Sarah Collins

The rise of foodbanks in the 6th richest country in the world is a national scandal and the STUC will continue to campaign vigorously against austerity, low pay and benefit sanctions which see so many people reliant on them.

It will also work to support foodbanks with advice on trade union and employment rights until the need for them can be eradicated.

Supporting the motion, UNISON’s Sarah Collins told delegates that we must make sure that the next UK government and the next government at Holyrood ends wage freezes and low pay and builds affordable social housing. She warned that we must join together to campaign against TTIP which, if agreed, will lead to an increase in food prices and a decrease in quality.

Calling for governments to fund an alternative to foodbanks Sarah said, “Let’s support foodbanks, but let’s not normalise them. Let’s not lose our anger that they are a disgrace.

“We don’t want the Norwegian model of food redistribution. That’s charity.

“We should support foodbanks only through the principle of solidarity,” said Sarah, calling for us to follow the Greek model with participative kitchens where people can eat and speak.

She quoted Uruguyan born author Eduardo Galeano, who said, “I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from top to bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person.”

“These are our values as trade unionists,” said Sarah. “Let’s apply them to our support of foodbanks.”

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