Debate & Discussion: Union Asylum Climbdown

Submitted by AWL on 21 July, 2005 - 12:15

Having read your report on UNISON conference (Solidarity 3-75) I saw it failed to mention an outcome of an issue covered by your paper on 28 April 2005. “The Race-hate election: Why don’t unions answer Tory Racists”. Your article correctly criticised the article in UNISON Labour Link News entitled, “Ten things the Tories did to you. That article included a fact that the asylum applications had increased by 45% under the Tories; this of course is not something we should consider bad i.e. something the Tories did to us, there being plenty of examples of the Tories’ attacks on us such as privatisation, not even mentioned in the article.

Islington UNISON was the only branch that pursued the issue on to the union’s conference floor. As a result of the Islington branch’s question, conference and UNISON members finally received an apology from Steve Warwick, NEC member and Labour Link Chair, for “any offence caused” and the branch was also told it should not have happened.

It is of course disappointing that it happened at all and that we had to write to the union three times prior to asking the question at conference, two of those times asking questions on the annual report and each response defended the article. I think it important that papers such as Solidarity pick up on updates to its articles.

Andrew Berry

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