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HELD ON SATURDAY, 31st MAY AT 11.00 am

PRESENT John Barton,Sam McCartney, Allison Cosgrove,Michael Scroggie, Matthew Crighton,Arthur West, Paul Nicoll

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.

  2. 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 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 ELECTED.

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.


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".


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:-

  1. The Committee's place within UNISON -
  2. 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 office-bearers.

    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 notice.

    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 issues.

  3. Palestinian/Israeli Conflict -
  4. 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 this forward.

  5. Areas of Special Interests -
  6. 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 via them;

    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 correspondence to.

  7. Communication -

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 locus in:-

  1. Motions -

  1. Burma and Honorary Life Membership of UNISON for Aung San Suu Kyi -
  2. This Motion was also being submitted to National Delegate Conference and Simon would liaise with the International Department following Conference over its implementation.

  3. Domestic Abuse in Russia -
  4. 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.

  5. Matthew Crighton asked for an update on the GATS Motion and Simon said that he would enquire where this had gone.

  1. Correspondence -

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 consider contributing.
    • 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 contributing.
    • Recent information from ACTSA was passed to Allison Cosgrove.


    • Matthew Crighton spoke to correspondence he tabled from the Woodcraft Folk indicating that they hoped to bring a group of Palestinian children over to a camp in Scotland during the summer. It was AGREED that the Scottish Committee

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 African project.
    • 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.


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.

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