International solidarity at the heart of trade unionism

#stuc19 The international section of the Congress agenda saw delegates support action to address oppression and inequality across the world.

Bhopal survivors must have justice

Sam Macartney
Sam Macartney

It called for action to support the people of Bhopal and to demand justice.

UNISON Scotland Chair of the International Committee, Sam Macartney told delegates that corporations value a Bhopal survivor’s life at one hundred times less than that of an Alaskan seabird.

“That’s not a joke,” said Sam. “In 1989, Exxon spent $151,000 on the rehabilitation of each bird affected by its oil disaster.

“That was the same year India struck an infamous settlement with Union Carbide that granted $494 compensation to 93% of Bhopal Gas survivors. That sum was meant to last for the rest of their lives, but it barely covered their medical bills.

“Thirty four years of suffering for $14 a year or 4 cents a day. Not enough to buy one aspirin,” slammed Sam.

He highlighted that this goes to the Indian Supreme Court this month, seeking adequate compensation for Bhopal survivors thirty years after the devastating disaster.

“We need to support their fight for a proper and realistic settlement.

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The Israeli state must be held accountable for illegal killings in Gaza
Congress condemned the terrible killings of Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force as part of a systematic and deliberate policy.

It demanded that the Israeli state be held accountable for their flagrant disregard for international law and delegates reaffirmed support for the self-determination of the Palestinian people and their right to protest.

Supporting the motion Sam said that he has spoken many times about the continued attacks on the Palestinian people, their way of life and the future of their existence. He warned that Netanyahu’s re-election leaves Palestinians a very bleak future and slammed the interference by the Trump regime, which “has undermined any possibility of a future peaceful settlement for the Israeli and Palestinian people.”

Sam thanked the STUC for its continued support of BDS and commended Irish artists who have pledged to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest.

“BDS is having an impact on the Israeli regime. Let’s up the ante in support of the Palestinian people because they really do need our support,” urged Sam.

Time to counter the propaganda of the US bullies against Venezuela
Congress went on to debate two emergency motions, the first from UNISON Scotland on Venezuela. Congress pledged its continued support for the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its elected government and its progressive policies designed to make progressive change for working people.

The STUC will act to counter propaganda directed against Venezuela and to lobby governments in Scotland and the UK to condemn US sanctions and to promote peaceful solutions which defend the sovereignty of Venezuela.

UNISON’s Sam Macartney moved the motion. He condemned the propaganda against the legitimate government of Venezuela by the US and its allies.

“For many years the US and others have attempted to gain access to the wealth and resources of the nations of South America and in fact the world.

“These attacks have progressed over the years with direct interference in internal affairs and attempts to impose regime change by armed intervention.

“Economic sanctions lead to unrest within countries. All of this done to gain power and resources,” slammed Sam.

He called on the STUC to send our support to the legitimate government of Venezuela and to demand that the US ceases its interference in Venezuela and demand that the Bank of England and the Deutsche Bank release and return to Venezuela the billions of pounds of gold they owe.

“Let’s stop the bullies of the world imposing their dogma on working class people.”

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