UNISON women pass emergency motion on Gaza

On the second day of UNISON’s women’s conference, delegates passed an emergency motion on solidarity with women in Gaza.

The motion calls on the union to condemn the recent statement made by Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir that the Israeli army must shoot anyone approaching the border, including women and children.

In a cabinet meeting earlier this week, he said: “We cannot have women and children getting close to the border … anyone who gets near must get a bullet”.

Tamsain Hussain Gul, speaking through tears as she introduced the motion, said: “Women are watching their children be killed, and then having to collect the pieces of their children’s bodies.”

Ms Hussain Gul’s speech received a standing ovation.

Speaking in support of the motion, NEC member Jordan Rivera said: “We have 180 women in Gaza giving birth every day and there is no pain relief. Women are giving birth with no medical care. Our hearts break for women losing their children. Over 10,000 children have died. This is completely unacceptable.”

Rakiya Suleiman, supporting the motion on behalf of UNISON Scotland, said: “This is what makes me part of this union. We are a platform of equality. We must do what is right.”

UNISON women's conference delegates hold Palestinian flags and signs reading 'ceasefire now'

Conference delegates held Palestinian flags and signs reading ‘ceasefire now’

The emergency motion calls on the national women’s committee to:

  1. Ask the NEC to condemn the statement made by the Israeli national security minister on 12 February 2024
  2. Work with the international committee to provide solidarity with women who are on the frontline in demanding trade union rights, peace and social justice in Gaza
  3. Work with the NEC and other self-organised groups to show solidarity with women and children adversely affected by conflict in Gaza and explore the ways to help them fight oppression and discrimination.
  4. Lobby the future government through Labour Link to ensure all humanitarian aid arrives “at the place most needed”.

The article UNISON women pass emergency motion on Gaza first appeared on the UNISON National site.

UNISON women pass emergency motion on Gaza

On the second day of UNISON’s women’s conference, delegates passed an emergency motion on solidarity with women in Gaza.

The motion calls on the union to condemn the recent statement made by Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir that the Israeli army must shoot anyone approaching the border, including women and children.

In a cabinet meeting earlier this week, he said: “We cannot have women and children getting close to the border … anyone who gets near must get a bullet”.

Tamsain Hussain Gul, speaking through tears as she introduced the motion, said: “Women are watching their children be killed, and then having to collect the pieces of their children’s bodies.”

Ms Hussain Gul’s speech received a standing ovation.

Speaking in support of the motion, NEC member Jordan Rivera said: “We have 180 women in Gaza giving birth every day and there is no pain relief. Women are giving birth with no medical care. Our hearts break for women losing their children. Over 10,000 children have died. This is completely unacceptable.”

Rakiya Suleiman, supporting the motion on behalf of UNISON Scotland, said: “This is what makes me part of this union. We are a platform of equality. We must do what is right.”

UNISON women's conference delegates hold Palestinian flags and signs reading 'ceasefire now'

Conference delegates held Palestinian flags and signs reading ‘ceasefire now’

The emergency motion calls on the national women’s committee to:

  1. Ask the NEC to condemn the statement made by the Israeli national security minister on 12 February 2024
  2. Work with the international committee to provide solidarity with women who are on the frontline in demanding trade union rights, peace and social justice in Gaza
  3. Work with the NEC and other self-organised groups to show solidarity with women and children adversely affected by conflict in Gaza and explore the ways to help them fight oppression and discrimination.
  4. Lobby the future government through Labour Link to ensure all humanitarian aid arrives “at the place most needed”.

The article UNISON women pass emergency motion on Gaza first appeared on the UNISON National site.

UNISON statement on the situation in the Red Sea

UNISON is extremely concerned at the risk of the situation in the Red Sea and the Bab El-Mandab Strait escalating into a broader regional and global conflict, following the attacks on civilian seafarers and commercial shipping.

On 19 November Houthi fighters hijacked the Galaxy Leader and took its crew hostage. Since then multiple cargo ships in the Red Sea and the Bab El-Mandab Strait have been attacked.

A large proportion of the world’s trade passes through the Red Sea and the diversion of shipping routes could lead to an increase in prices of manufactured goods and food heightening the cost of living crisis.

UNISON stands in solidarity with the International Transport Workers Federation and its affiliates, including Nautilus International, whose members have come under attack.

We welcome the ITF’s role in securing additional pay and benefits for affected crew. We note the call of ITF for governments to guarantee security for shipping in the area and ensure the release of seafarers who have been taken hostage. The United Nations Security Council has also condemned the attacks and called for them to cease.

UNISON calls for the release of the hostages from the Galaxy Leader, an end to the attacks on shipping and for the safety of seafarers. We urge all parties to act with restraint and avoid any escalation that risks a wider regional conflict or exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The article UNISON statement on the situation in the Red Sea first appeared on the UNISON National site.

UNISON statement on the situation in the Red Sea

UNISON is extremely concerned at the risk of the situation in the Red Sea and the Bab El-Mandab Strait escalating into a broader regional and global conflict, following the attacks on civilian seafarers and commercial shipping.

On 19 November Houthi fighters hijacked the Galaxy Leader and took its crew hostage. Since then multiple cargo ships in the Red Sea and the Bab El-Mandab Strait have been attacked.

A large proportion of the world’s trade passes through the Red Sea and the diversion of shipping routes could lead to an increase in prices of manufactured goods and food heightening the cost of living crisis.

UNISON stands in solidarity with the International Transport Workers Federation and its affiliates, including Nautilus International, whose members have come under attack.

We welcome the ITF’s role in securing additional pay and benefits for affected crew. We note the call of ITF for governments to guarantee security for shipping in the area and ensure the release of seafarers who have been taken hostage. The United Nations Security Council has also condemned the attacks and called for them to cease.

UNISON calls for the release of the hostages from the Galaxy Leader, an end to the attacks on shipping and for the safety of seafarers. We urge all parties to act with restraint and avoid any escalation that risks a wider regional conflict or exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The article UNISON statement on the situation in the Red Sea first appeared on the UNISON National site.

UNISON condemns the resumption of violence in Gaza and calls for an immediate ceasefire

UNISON condemns the end of the humanitarian pause between the Israeli government and Hamas and the resumption of ground operations and bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli state.

For seven days the artillery and missiles largely fell silent, allowing just a fraction of the humanitarian assistance that is so desperately needed into the strip. Since then, hundreds more Palestinian civilians have been killed and homes destroyed.

Gaza’s healthcare system is only partially functioning, due to bomb damage, the killing of almost 200 health workers, and a shortage of medical supplies, electricity and clean water.

Health workers continue to risk their lives as they attempt to respond to the huge increase of those requiring treatment. The displacement of nearly 80% of the population of Gaza has created a public health crisis, with overcrowding and the lack of sanitation resulting in an increase in outbreaks of communicable diseases.

UNISON calls for an end to the targeting of civilians, refugee camps and critical public services, including healthcare, and calls on the Israeli government and Hamas to respect international law. The union reaffirms the right to public services, including clean water and sanitation.

UNISON condemns the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza and reaffirms its call for a ceasefire and full access to humanitarian assistance. We reiterate our condemnation of the heinous crimes by Hamas on 7 October and call for the immediate and safe release of all hostages.

UNISON also condemns any victimisation and harassment of Jewish and Arab anti-war protestors in Israel.  We condemn the use of sexual violence in war on any side.

UNISON calls for a renewed impetus from world leaders, including the UK government and the Opposition, for an immediate ceasefire, peace and a political solution to the crisis, resulting in an end to the occupation and a contiguous Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel. To that end, UNISON call on the British Government to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

Before the latest conflict, Gaza had one of the highest rates of unemployment in the world. Since then, a further 182,000 jobs have been lost, according to estimates from the International Labour Organisation. In the West Bank, at least 152,000 Palestinians have lost their jobs in Israel and the illegal settlements due to the closure of crossings and other restrictions on Palestinian workers. Increased restrictions on freedom of movement have also limited the ability of Palestinians to access work within the West Bank.

UNISON calls for an end to the punitive measures that undermine the Palestinian economy and the right to decent work, including the 17-year blockade of Gaza and restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement in the occupied West Bank.

UNISON continues to encourage branches and members organising around Palestine in their workplaces and encourages them to mobilise for both national and local protests.

The article UNISON condemns the resumption of violence in Gaza and calls for an immediate ceasefire first appeared on the UNISON National site.

UNISON condemns the resumption of violence in Gaza and calls for an immediate ceasefire

UNISON condemns the end of the humanitarian pause between the Israeli government and Hamas and the resumption of ground operations and bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli state.

For seven days the artillery and missiles largely fell silent, allowing just a fraction of the humanitarian assistance that is so desperately needed into the strip. Since then, hundreds more Palestinian civilians have been killed and homes destroyed.

Gaza’s healthcare system is only partially functioning, due to bomb damage, the killing of almost 200 health workers, and a shortage of medical supplies, electricity and clean water.

Health workers continue to risk their lives as they attempt to respond to the huge increase of those requiring treatment. The displacement of nearly 80% of the population of Gaza has created a public health crisis, with overcrowding and the lack of sanitation resulting in an increase in outbreaks of communicable diseases.

UNISON calls for an end to the targeting of civilians, refugee camps and critical public services, including healthcare, and calls on the Israeli government and Hamas to respect international law. The union reaffirms the right to public services, including clean water and sanitation.

UNISON condemns the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza and reaffirms its call for a ceasefire and full access to humanitarian assistance. We reiterate our condemnation of the heinous crimes by Hamas on 7 October and call for the immediate and safe release of all hostages.

UNISON also condemns any victimisation and harassment of Jewish and Arab anti-war protestors in Israel.  We condemn the use of sexual violence in war on any side.

UNISON calls for a renewed impetus from world leaders, including the UK government and the Opposition, for an immediate ceasefire, peace and a political solution to the crisis, resulting in an end to the occupation and a contiguous Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel. To that end, UNISON call on the British Government to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

Before the latest conflict, Gaza had one of the highest rates of unemployment in the world. Since then, a further 182,000 jobs have been lost, according to estimates from the International Labour Organisation. In the West Bank, at least 152,000 Palestinians have lost their jobs in Israel and the illegal settlements due to the closure of crossings and other restrictions on Palestinian workers. Increased restrictions on freedom of movement have also limited the ability of Palestinians to access work within the West Bank.

UNISON calls for an end to the punitive measures that undermine the Palestinian economy and the right to decent work, including the 17-year blockade of Gaza and restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement in the occupied West Bank.

UNISON continues to encourage branches and members organising around Palestine in their workplaces and encourages them to mobilise for both national and local protests.

The article UNISON condemns the resumption of violence in Gaza and calls for an immediate ceasefire first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Blog: Donate to aid efforts in Israel and Gaza

We are all horrified by the devastating violence we have seen in Israel and Gaza in recent weeks. I know that many UNISON activists are eager to respond to the crisis, so we are encouraging all our branches to support the critical work of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Red Cross.

UNISON condemns the brutal and heinous attack by Hamas against innocent civilians in Israel, and the indiscriminate bombing and collective punishment of the people of Gaza. We are calling for a ceasefire, the immediate and safe release of hostages and for an end to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Gaza’s fragile health system was already close to collapse before the latest escalation, due to the 16-year blockade on the narrow strip of land. The bombing of Gaza and further severe restrictions on access to water, energy and essential medical supplies have seriously exacerbated the health crisis, with 14 out of 35 hospitals and 71% of primary healthcare facilities no longer able to function.

It is essential that we do all we can to support our colleagues working to save lives in the most appalling circumstances in Gaza and Israel. That is why UNISON has already donated £10,000 to support the critical work of Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Red Cross, and we are asking UNISON branches to give generously to these emergency appeals too.

MAP has a team working in Gaza to get essential supplies to healthcare providers. It is also working with the Palestinian Red Crescent and is establishing operations in Egypt. The Red Cross is working to provide critical support both in Gaza and Israel in response to the crisis, working with the Palestinian Red Crescent and Magen David Adom.

Over 1,400 Israelis and 8,500 Palestinians had been killed by the end of October, and many thousands more injured, sadly, so many of them are children. Please do all you can to support the essential work of these organisations and help our colleagues in Gaza and Israel save lives.

Donate to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)

Donate to the Red Cross

The article Blog: Donate to aid efforts in Israel and Gaza first appeared on the UNISON National site.

Donate to aid efforts in Gaza and Israel

UNISON is horrified by the devastating violence seen in Gaza and Israel in recent weeks.

General secretary Christina McAnea says: “I know that many UNISON activists are eager to respond to the crisis, so we are encouraging all our branches to support the critical work of Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and the Red Cross.

“UNISON condemns the brutal and heinous attack by Hamas against innocent civilians in Israel, and the indiscriminate bombing and collective punishment of the people of Gaza. We are calling for a ceasefire, the immediate and safe release of hostages and for an end to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

Gaza’s fragile health system was already close to collapse before the latest escalation, due to the 16-year blockade on the narrow strip of land.

The bombing of Gaza and further severe restrictions on access to water, energy and essential medical supplies have seriously exacerbated the health crisis, with 14 out of 35 hospitals and 71% of primary healthcare facilities no longer able to function.

Christina continues: “It is essential that we do all we can to support our colleagues working to save lives in the most appalling circumstances in Gaza and Israel. That is why UNISON has already donated £10,000 to support the critical work of Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Red Cross, and we are asking UNISON branches to give generously to these emergency appeals too.”

MAP has a team working in Gaza to get essential supplies to healthcare providers. It is also working with the Palestinian Red Crescent and is establishing operations in Egypt. The Red Cross is working to provide critical support both in Gaza and Israel in response to the crisis, working with the Palestinian Red Crescent and Magen David Adom.

Over 10,000 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis have been killed by the conflict so far, and many thousands more injured, sadly, so many of them are children.

Christiana adds: “Please do all you can to support the essential work of these organisations and help our colleagues in Gaza and Israel save lives.”

Donate to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)

Donate to the Red Cross

The article Donate to aid efforts in Gaza and Israel first appeared on the UNISON National site.

UNISON calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel

UNISON supports the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel to allow the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance. The union condemns the rising death toll of Palestinian civilians – especially among children – caused by Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

We express our concern at the collapse of vital public services – particularly healthcare – and reiterate our call for the release of all the hostages being held by Hamas.

UNISON encourages our members and branches to take action calling for a ceasefire, including joining peaceful protests and contacting their members of parliament. UNISON will be making donations to Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Red Cross and encourages branches to do the same.

UNISON is deeply concerned by the dramatic increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents. Anti-racism and the right to treated with dignity and respect, irrespective of race or creed, are fundamental values of our union. All members should be able to feel safe in their places of work and the communities in which they live.

Finally, UNISON calls on the British government and the international community to support a ceasefire leading to renewed talks aimed at achieving a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel, as the only way to secure long-term peace in the Middle East.

Previous statements

The article UNISON calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel first appeared on the UNISON National site.

UNISON calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel

UNISON supports the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel to allow the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance. The union condemns the rising death toll of Palestinian civilians – especially among children – caused by Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

We express our concern at the collapse of vital public services – particularly healthcare – and reiterate our call for the release of all the hostages being held by Hamas.

UNISON encourages our members and branches to take action calling for a ceasefire, including joining peaceful protests and contacting their members of parliament. UNISON will be making donations to Medical Aid for Palestinians and the Red Cross and encourages branches to do the same.

UNISON is deeply concerned by the dramatic increase in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents. Anti-racism and the right to treated with dignity and respect, irrespective of race or creed, are fundamental values of our union. All members should be able to feel safe in their places of work and the communities in which they live.

Finally, UNISON calls on the British government and the international community to support a ceasefire leading to renewed talks aimed at achieving a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel, as the only way to secure long-term peace in the Middle East.

Previous statements

The article UNISON calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Israel first appeared on the UNISON National site.