MINUTES OF THE
SCOTTISH INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE
HELD ON SATURDAY, 31st MAY AT 11.00 am
UNISON HOUSE, WEST CAMPBELL STREET, GLASGOW
PRESENT John Barton,Sam McCartney, Allison
Cosgrove,Michael Scroggie, Matthew Crighton,Arthur West, Paul
APOLOGIES Jean-Anne Goodbrand, Mike
Kirby, Stephen Rolfe, Stephen Smellie
As this was the Annual General Meeting of the
Committee, Simon Macfarlane opened the meeting and introduced
himself as the new Lead Officer and he indicated that he had
an interest in international issues and very much looked forward
to working with the Committee.
BUSINESS OF THE AGM
Simon asked for nominations for Chair and
John Barton was moved by Sam McCartney and seconded. There
being no other nominations John Barton was duly ELECTED
and took over as Chair of the meeting.
JOHN BARTON IN THE CHAIR
John Barton welcomed Simon Macfarlane and
indicated that the Committee looked forward to working with
him in the future.
Nominations were requested for Vice Chair and
Allison Cosgrove was moved by Matthew Crighton and seconded.
There being no other nominations Allison Cosgrove was duly
John explained that in the past the Committee
had a Secretary to assist and work with the Officer in the
day to day administration of the Committee. Previously this
had been done by Maggie Aitken but she was no longer on the
Committee. Sam McCartney had latterly assisted in this. Sam,
therefore, volunteered to work with Simon in terms of being
Secretary of the Committee. The Committee thanked Sam for
taking this on and also thanks to Maggie for her work on the
International Committee. over/
At this point, the Committee also wished to
express their grateful thanks to Glyn Hawker and Wilma Kilgour
for their work on behalf of the Committee.
3. MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING
The Minutes of the previous meeting was AGREED
subject to the following amendment:-
"Allison Cosgrove is to organise the Fair
Trade Stall at the Scottish Council and not Simon Macfarlane,
but that Simon would organise the sale of Palestinian Calendars".
4. MATTERS ARISING
Sam McCartney stated that he thought the Seminar
had been excellent and that the inputs that we received were
very good, ie, Banana Link, War on Want and Stephen Smellie
on Kurdish Trade Unions. It was AGREED that the Committee
would look at picking up some of these issues in the year
ahead. It was NOTED that although Stephen Smellie could not
be in attendance, it was understood that he would hope for
Committee support for a possible visit by Kurdistan Trade
Unionists to Scotland later in the year.
It was reported that the Fair Trade Stall at
the Scottish Council had done well in terms of awareness raising,
however, it was unclear how much actual sales it generated.
The sale of Palestinian Calendars had gone very well.
A report was tabled from Jean-Anne Goodbrand
covering the International Officers' Weekend School. Jean-Anne
was thanked for her report and this was augmented by a verbal
report from Michael Scroggie who said that the Seminar had
focused on key areas, ie, GATS, HIV/AIDS and Burma. Michael
indicated that GATS was very interesting because it links
into so many subject areas.
Sam McCartney asked if the policy of drug companies
was discussed in relation to HIV and AIDS. Michael responded
that it was in terms of how UNISON members could use their
influence on drugs companies via Pension funds.
There then followed an open discussion on priorities
and a workplan for the coming year. This led to the following
areas of work being identified:-
The Committee's place within UNISON -
It was recognised and welcomed that the Scottish
Committee could and should take the lead in addressing pressing
international matters and indeed had done so effectively
on the issue of war on Iraq. It was felt important that
the Committee was in the loop when such decisions were taken
and whilst recognising that the Scottish Committee had overall
responsibility. Relations and communications with the NEC
International Committee also need clarification.
Simon reported that a new Head of International
Relations had been appointed, ie, Nick Sigler and that he
had started work last week. Once the Annual Conference was
over, Simon indicated that he hoped to go and visit colleagues
in the International Department at Headquarters.
It was stated that the Committee needed to
clarify its role in working with International Officers
in Scottish Branches. It was AGREED that Simon would
write to all Branches in Scotland seeking information on
their International Officers.
It was also AGREED that in relation
to the role of the Committee within the Scottish structures
that a meeting be sought with Mike Kirby, Scottish Convener
and Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary, along with the Committee
As all members in attendance at this meeting
and a number of others who were not are on email, it was
AGREED that email could be used to keep all members
up to date with developments and gather opinions at short
It was also suggested that in terms of the
meeting with Mike and Matt, the Committee should clarify
if there is scope for them to develop relations with Politicians
at Westminster, Holyrood and European Parliaments and to
discuss direct contact with them in relation to International
Palestinian/Israeli Conflict -
A carryover priority for the International
Committee had been to organise a Conference on understanding
the Palestinian conflict. With the launch of the Road Map
to Peace, this is now a key issue. It was AGREED
that the Committee should attempt to run a broad-based Conference
in the autumn encompassing a range of speakers and input
from different perspectives as long as they were striving
for peace. It would be an opportunity to explain some of
the background and complexities to the Palestinian/Israeli
conflict and inform people about the Road Map process. A
view was expressed that it was important to get some input
from the Jewish/Israeli perspective, however, it was made
clear that there should be no Zionist input as UNISON had
a clear policy in this area.
It was AGREED that John Barton, Sam
McCartney, Allison Cosgrove and Simon Macfarlane would take
Areas of Special Interests -
It was AGREED to look at areas of special
interest and mapping them up to individuals. From those
present it was NOTED that in addition to all having a general
interest in international issues:-
Sam McCartney had a particular
interest in War on Want;
Matthew Crighton serves on the
CND Executive and Woodcraft Folk
and his interests are in the World Development
Movement and GATS;
John Barton in the 3 Twinning Protocols;
Allison Cosgrove in Amnesty International
and War on Want and her
Branch is interested in Western Sahara;
Simon Macfarlane in Palestine;
Michael Scroggie is very interested
in Pensions and the influence that
UNISON members can bring to bear
Arthur West is interested in mainly
solidarity issues and is Chair of the
Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign;
Paul Nicoll had a general interest
and his Branch was looking at Immigration
and Asylum Seeker issues.
It was reported that Jean-Anne Goodbrand had
a particular interest in South Africa. Other members of
the Committee had completed the information requested on
the proformas that Simon had circulated.
It was AGREED that Simon should get
a list of current affiliations and circulate them to the
Committee. From this list see we could identify affiliates
who would be interested in being the lead contact for each
affiliate and this would allow Simon to know who to send
It was AGREED that a Communication
Group would be formed consisting of:-
Allison Cosgrove, Sam McCartney, John
Barton and Simon Macfarlane.
As part of wider communications, it was
AGREED that copies of the International Committee
minutes should be sent to Branch International Officers.
Simon reported on the two Motions that had gone
to Scottish Council that the International Committee had a
Burma and Honorary Life Membership of
UNISON for Aung San Suu Kyi -
This Motion was also being submitted to National
Delegate Conference and Simon would liaise with the International
Department following Conference over its implementation.
Domestic Abuse in Russia -
This Motion had been passed directly to the
International Department in London via Matt Smith, Scottish
Secretary. Allison Cosgrove suggested that some of the excellent
material on domestic violence that UNISON had produced could
be sent and Simon AGREED to undertake liaison with
the International Department to ensure this was done. Allison
also indicated that she had some more information that she
would forward to Simon.
Matthew Crighton asked for an update on
the GATS Motion and Simon said that he would enquire where
this had gone.
Previously circulated. In terms of additional
items there was a letter from -
the STUC passing on a requested from
the Caledonian University Centre for Political Song
looking for support for a visit by a Zimbabwean Political
Songwriter. It was AGREED that the Committee
should write to the Scottish Committee asking them to
A letter from Banana Link looking for
assistance in sponsoring a fringe meeting at the UNISON
National Delegate Conference and the TUC. Again, it
was AGREED to ask the Scottish Committee to consider
Recent information from ACTSA was passed
to Allison Cosgrove.
should be asked to contribute and the
information should be circulated to Branches. Simon
would do this along with the request for information
on who are Branches International Officers.
Allison Cosgrove reported that she would
circulate information from Nicky Lee who was one of
the Bob Cotton Award winners on her work in a South
Apologies were received from War on
Want who had originally indicated they would be able
to attend the meeting. Jackie Simpkins the Trade Union
Officer had notified Simon that it was unfortunate that
they could not make the May meeting, but that they would
be interested in coming to a future meeting. It was
AGREED that an invitation should be extended
to War on Want to attend a future meeting of the Committee.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
It was AGREED that due to organising
the Conference on the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict that the
Committee should go ahead with a meeting in August instead
of November. Therefore, Saturday, 23rd August
2003 at 11.00 am was identified and the Committee would
stick with Saturday, 20th September 2003 at
11.00 am. As a result of this the November meeting has
been deferred and if there required to be a meeting later
in the year this would be considered at a later date.
Sam McCartney volunteered the Glasgow City Branch
Office as a venue and this was AGREED. Consequently,
both the above meetings will take place at the Glasgow City
Branch Office, 4th Floor, 18 Albion Street, Trongate,
Glasgow at 11.00 am.
With regard to the meeting on 23rd
August it was NOTED that Simon should pick up on the correspondence
from War on Want and invite them to attend.
It was also suggested that an invitation be
extended to Steve Rolfe to make a short presentation/input
on GATS if he was so willing.
The meeting closed at 1.00 pm.