Many thanks to all who helped UNISON Scotland’s International Committee mark our former Chair Sam Macartney’s immense contribution to international solidarity.
Last Friday the inaugural award was presented to Sam’s wife Teresa Macartney in recognition, posthumously, of Sam’s dedication and outstanding commitment to internationalism. Mary Dawson, former chair of Glasgow City UNISON, received the award on Teresa’s behalf.
Thanks to the generosity of many UNISON Scotland branches, the Committee was also, as part of the Sam Macartney Award for International Solidarity, able to present £300 each to three organisations working on Palestinian rights, one of Sam’s campaigning passions.
The monetary awards went to MAAN Workers Association, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) and the Scottish Friends of Palestine (SFoP). We are very grateful to all three for their powerful contributions to the evening. Assaf Adiv, Executive Director of MAAN, gave the Sam Macartney Commemoration Lecture by live video link from Israel. You can see the short film preceding his talk, here. The film was prepared for a UNISON National Delegate Conference event in June.
MAAN Workers Association is an independent trade union association that organises Arab and Jewish workers in Israel. MAAN stands against the occupation, for Palestinian rights and for equality and human rights for all. UNISON has had a number of successful projects with MAAN, most recently organising Palestinian workers in the illegal Israeli industrial zones in the West Bank.
Palestinian unions aren’t able to represent the workers but MAAN can, although it inevitably involves legal action and strikes before they are recognised. They have also managed to secure compensation for workers who haven’t been paid the minimum wage etc. MAAN is the sole workers’ organisation in Israel that unionises Palestinians employed in the West Bank settlements as well as those working in Israel.
There was an online report in the Morning Star on 18 November, by International Committee Co-Chairs Kaila McCulloch and Tony Caleary. Tony and Kaila hosted the event and presented the award, along with Jim Snell and Jim Boyes, from Glasgow City UNISON, who presented a ‘globe’ Sam Macartney Award from the branch and paid tribute, with memories of their many years working alongside Sam.
Thanks for support for the event also go to Lilian Macer, UNISON Scotland Convener, Stephen Smellie, Depute Convener (who sent apologies from COP27 in Egypt, where he was representing the International Trade Union Confederation) and to all the Glasgow City UNISON colleagues, and UNISON Scotland colleagues who worked to pull the award launch together, including Glasgow branch secretary Brian Smith, Jim Boyes, Elizabeth Brannigan, Naomi Junnor, Scott Donohoe, Fiona Montgomery and many others. The committee was pleased that among those attending were former secretary to the International Committee, Simon Macfarlane, and four international colleagues from North West UNISON. We are indebted to Teresa Macartney for her support for the award. Our thoughts are with Teresa, her family and friends.
Nominations for the 2023 Sam Macartney Award for International Solidarity are open, with a deadline of 15 May. An individual or a branch can be nominated.
The bespoke carved wooden award was designed and made by Iain Moffat. It was carved from Scottish yew, inspired by the ribbons flowing through the UNISON logo’s S – for solidarity, and Sam. It will be presented annually, alongside a quaich to be kept by the award recipient.