Sam Macartney Award for International Solidarity 2024 – nominations & donations please!

thumbnail of International trade union solidarityThe International Committee is pleased to invite nominations for the 2024 Sam Macartney Award for International Solidarity.

We would also like to invite branches to please donate to support the award and the annual Palestine solidarity lecture in Sam’s name.

Many thanks to the branches who gave so generously when we launched the Award in 2022.

This has supported financial awards of £1,800 in total to MAAN Workers Association, Scottish Friends of Palestine, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (all 2022) and this year to Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Kurdish Community Centre, as well as supporting two events with speakers.

As you know, at a launch event in 2022 the Award was presented to Sam’s wife Teresa. And last month the 2023 Award, announced at December’s Scottish Council, was made to Stephen Smellie, who was nominated by his branch, South Lanarkshire UNISON.

thumbnail of Sam Award report of Feb 24 event

To the left, is a report of that event, which included the Sam Macartney Commemoration Lecture, and above left is an article by Stephen about international solidarity, based on his speech.

It is vital to occasionally remind ourselves and new members and activists why international work is so important.

As Stephen says:

“The struggles that we in our trade unions are engaged in are the same as elsewhere in the world and as we would ask for solidarity, for support, when we are on strike or campaigning to stop cuts, we should extend solidarity to those workers across the world engaged in the same struggles.

“This is not the same as charity. Charity is where you help someone who is suffering by giving them food, water or medicines, or donate money to help them get these essentials. Solidarity is a trade union principle that is about providing assistance to allow people to stand on their own feet and fight for themselves so that they are more powerful and can change their situation, for freedom, justice and a future free from oppression.”

An email is going to branch secretaries today, 28 March, inviting nominations and donations, with more detail, and a form for the donations.

We are also emailing Self Organised Groups. Nominations are invited for a branch/Self Organised Group, or a member of your branch/Self Organised Group, whose international solidarity work demonstrates a commitment to supporting workers facing adversity, has supported international campaigns, and demonstrated enthusiasm and commitment to international solidarity.

We want to hear about work that deserves recognition and celebration.

Thanks in solidarity,

Kaila McCulloch and Tony Caleary

Co-chairs, UNISON Scotland International Committee