International seminar 2023 sends message of solidarity to Colombia

In September 2023, activists from three UNISON regions gathered in London to learn, share and develop our joint international campaigning work.

UNISON South East, along with our colleagues in London and Eastern regions, held an International seminar and day of workshops this past week at the UNISON Centre in London.

We had a good attendance, and Liz Wheatley Chair of the NEC’s International Committee gave a very good talk about UNISON’s international relations work and spoke about her own personal experience as part of a UNISON delegation earlier this year to Palestine.

She also reported on the campaign for ethical investment in pensions schemes, NHS procurement of goods – PPE etc, migrant worker rights, attacks on women’s rights in US and other countries, and the climate emergency.

Nick MacWilliam from Justice for Colombia similarly gave a well received account of what’s been happening recently in Colombia. It has historically been the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist or human rights activist, with many murders.

Last year a socially progressive government was elected for the first time – and they have been making great efforts to increase workers and trade union rights, make labour reforms to help people out of poverty, and renewed efforts to find a real and lasting peace – as the country still suffers from armed militias.

Nick showed a film of a great trade union march for May day and our branch international officers took the opportunity to send a message of solidarity to all trade unionists in Colombia (pictured above).

There was also workshops on the role of a Branch International Officer. We spoke about how branches can build and support a campaign and shared information on how UNISON supports the international campaign and solidarity groups we affiliate to.

It was a well attended and positive event and the three UNISON regions hope to do some more joint working in the future.

Find out more about UNISON’s international work

Justice for Colombia