JFC at Union Conferences

Justice For Colombia News | on: Thursday, 12 July 2012

JFC took part in several trade union conferences during May and June 2012, including those of the POA, ASLEF, UCU, GMB, UNISON and UNITE.

JFC Director addressed the POA and ASLEF conferences, followed by a motion pledging support for JFC and trade union colleagues in Colombia. ASLEF held a Colombia reception with Mick Whelan, General Secretary, Nigel Gibson, executive member, and Vicky Phillips from Thompsons - all three recently returned from a JFC delegation to Colombia, speaking to members about their experiences.

UCU, University and College Union, invited Dr. Miguel Angel Beltran to address their conference. Dr. Beltran is a Colombian academic and former political prisoner released last year after a joint UCU-JFC campaign. During his visit to the UK Dr Beltran met with representatives of several British unions, including the Musicians Union, NASUWT, NUS, and UNISON. He also addressed the NUT and FBU executive committees as well as speaking at the GMB Conference.

UNISON Conference was also a big success, with the President and General Secretary of ANTHOC (the Colombian health workers union) attending as international delegates, organised by JFC and UNISON. Carmen Mayusa, ANTHOC General Secretary, spoke to all UNISON delegates during the International Debate. JFC also organised a successful fringe, attended by over 150 delegates.

UNITE the Union hosted Nidia Quintero, a guest from Fensuagro, the Colombian agricultural workers’ union - UNITE’s sister union in Colombia - who was invited to speak from the conference rostrum. Nidia told the UNITE delegates her personal story, of having had both her husband and a son assassinated by paramilitaries, but added that her case is not isolated, but rather emblematic of widespread and ongoing state-sponsored violence against trade unionists in Colombia. UNITE delegates passed a motion pledging their support and released a declaration condemning recentassassinations of Fensuagro members. Justice for Colombia also hosted a a hugely successful fringe event at UNITE, chaired by UNITE Chair Tony Woodhouse , in addition to a fundraising reception and raffle hosted by the Unite East and West Midalnds Regions and supported by Thompsons.

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