UNISON sends letter of solidarity to KESK and DISK unions

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the public service union UNISON, has written a letter of condolence to the organising unions of last Saturday’s peace rally, in which over 100 people died following two bomb blasts. Addressed to Ismail Hakki Tombul, general secretary of the Confederation of Public Workers’ Unions (KESK) , and Kani Beko, Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), the letter reads:

Monday, 12 October, 2015

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of UNISON I send our deepest condolences on the tragic loss of so many of your members’ lives at the Labour, Peace and Democracy Rally in Ankara on Saturday. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the families and friends of the victims, and our hopes for a full recovery for all those injured in the attack.

UNISON condemns this brutal attack on trade unionists who were campaigning in support of peace, democracy and workers’ rights, and against the increasing violence and repression that the people of Turkey are suffering. We support the call for a full, transparent and independent investigation into the circumstances of the attack and its aftermath. Continue reading

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UNISON delegation visits Diyarbakir amidst ongoing violence and intimidation

PRESS RELEASE BY THE UNISON SCOTLAND DELEGATION WHO VISITED THE KURDISH REGION IN TURKEY

29 September 2015

A delegation of four trade unionists from Scotland: Stephen Smellie, deputy convenor of Unison Scotland; Viv Thomson, Chaiperson of UNISON’s national women’s commitee; Sarah Collins, UNISON East Ayrshire branch; and Paul Smellie, young member of Unite the Union, along with”Glasgow girl” Roza Salih*)  visited Diyarbakir in southern Turkey last week following news reports of military curfews in the predominantly Kurdish region. Continue reading

STUC conference passes motion supporting Rojava

The motion below was recently passed at the STUC conference in Ayr. Kurdish activists and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s Trade Union Liaison Officer Stephen Smellie (UNISON) were at the event for three days, where they met with union activists including Dave Parentis, general secretary of UNISON.

Kurdish activists with Stephen Smellie and UNISON general secretary Dave Parentis

Kurdish activists with Stephen Smellie and UNISON general secretary Dave Parentis

STUC April 2015

104. SUPPORT ROJAVA, DEFEND KOBANE, DEFEAT ISIS

“That this Congress expresses its concern at the events in Syria, resulting in thousands of deaths resulting in thousands of deaths and that conflict and the rise of ISIS has created a humanitarian crisis in the region and that millions of refugees have been displaced and some are now surviving with the assistance of local authorities, trade unions and volunteers, often without international aid.

Congress note:

  • the efforts in Rojava to establish an inclusive, non-sectarian and democratic self-rule, which has attracted considerable attention because of their experiment in democratic self-government, which is unique within the region;
  • the role that women are playing in the administration, and defence, of Rojava;
  • the role of the defence forces of Rojava, the YPG and the women’s YPJ, the Peshmerga of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and the PKK, in defending Kobane and the battle against ISIS in Iraq; and
  • That assemblies and popular militias have been formed, regime property turned over to worker co-operatives and all despite continual attacks by ISS forces.

Continue reading

Kurdish activists celebrate victory in Kobane and call for further support in the struggle against ISIS

MEDIA RELEASE
29 January 2015

For immediate use

Kurdish activists in Scotland and their supporters gather in Glasgow on Saturday to celebrate the success of the Kurdish defence of Kobane where ISIS forces have been pushed out.

The gathering in the UNISON offices in Glasgow brings together Kurds living in Scotland along with political and trade union activists supportive of the struggle against ISIS and the struggle for Kurdish rights.

They will be joined by the Rebar Hajo, UK representative of the main Kurdish party in Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Michelle Allison and Akif Wan of the Kurdish National Congress (KNK). Continue reading

UNISON branch declares support for Rojava

The South Lanarkshire Branch of UNISON recently passed a motion in support of the Rojava initiative and in solidarity with the defence of Kobane. The motion is below in full.

ROJAVA

This meeting expresses its concern at the events in Syria in recent times with the bloodshed and violence resulting in thousands of deaths and displacement of people throughout the country. We note that in Rojava attempts have been made to establish an inclusive, non-sectarian and democratic self-rule since the Assad’s army was forced to withdraw over two years ago. We wish to express our support for the people of Rojava in their effort to build a peaceful community where all people, Kurds, Arabs, Alevis, Shia, Sunni, Christians and others can live and work together and contribute to peaceful change across Syria. Continue reading