A couple of weeks ago I attended the Stop the War Annual General Meeting (AGM) on behalf of our UWE UNISON branch. The afternoon session was focused on the role of trade unions in opposing war. After all, it’s often us, the working class who are the cannon fodder for those in power.
Already in Spain, there are adverts recruiting locals to fight in the Ukrainian war for money. These adverts are all over the place, where the financial and employment crisis is so bad that people are literally putting themselves in the firing line so that their families can have food.
There were so many key things I learned from the event, which I reported to our branch executive. To give you an idea I’ve listed a few items below:
- The Tory government has found £4.6 billion to donate in military assistance to Ukraine so far in the last 1.5 years, despite the local austerity cuts on our population.
- The military industrial complex is one of the biggest polluters in the world. According to Birmingham Uni research this is at least 20% of all environmental degradation globally. According to the MoD’s own Climate change and Sustainability Strategic Approach document, defence accounts for 50% of UK central Government’s emissions.
- Ukrainian government has banned trade unions and confiscated trade union property.
As I’m writing this, the systematic oppression, abuse and state torture of the Palestinians for over half a century has boiled over again. The violence and senseless deaths will not stop until all the arms pouring into Israel, from multiple countries including the UK stops, forcing talks. These arms companies, some of whom have relationships with UWE again highlights; our management’s hypocrisy in their claims of “values” and “ethical investments”.
UNISON, both nationally and locally has a long history with the Stop the War coalition and we will continue to work together for; peaceful solutions, prioritising lives over profit and wages not war.