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Date: 27 May 2004

UNISON congratulates South Ayrshire Council on Anti -Racist unity

Scotland's largest union, UNISON today (Thursday) welcomed the unanimous decision of South Ayrshire Council to condemn the use of taxpayers money to distribute racist material to homes, and encourage people to vote to avoid the risk of racist groups benefiting from low turnout.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser (Policy) said, "We welcome the first Scottish council decision against the evil of racism in the forthcoming Euro elections. The fact that the decision was unanimous, shows that racist groups such as the BNP are not part of genuine political debate in this country. We urge all Scotland to vote against such racism on June 10"

Cllr Gerry Crawley, the South Ayrshire Councillor for Forehill, who moved the successful motion said "We are concerned that racists like the BNP can benefit disproportionately if there is a low turnout. We also find it abhorrent that such groups can use legitimate electoral facilities to spread their poison. I am pleased that all shades of political opinion on South Ayrshire Council have united to deliver this important message."

UNISON is itself running a major political campaign to encourage its 150,000 Scottish members, and the general public to vote to stop the BNP. The union is distributing leaflets and posters to its members, and placing adverts in national newspapers to urge a vote against the BNP. As a registered 'third party' the union is allowed to spend up to £18,000 on advertising and public campaigning. In addition they will be producing similar material to use internally.

Dave Watson said "At a time when we are remembering the sacrifice of all who died to free Europe from racism and Nazism, we do not want their racist heirs to get a toehold in Scotland. Underneath the veneer of smart suits, the BNP has deep set aims of racial superiority. They want to send back workers from overseas who provide a valuable role in filling the shortages in our public workforce, and would exclude fresh talent and skilled refugees, leaving Scotland's population declining and ageing."

ENDS

For Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser (Policy) 0845 355 0845(w) 07787 558410(m) Cllr Gerry Crawley, (Cllr for Forehill- S. Ayrshire) - 07970 187 851 (m) Chris Bartter, Communications Officer, 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m) yours

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