Monday was a red letter day for the Hands Off Venezuela
campaign. Amicus/Unity, the second biggest union in Britain, voted practically
unanimously to affiliate to the HOV campaign.
This represents a great step forward for the campaign in the trade union
The resolution (173) was moved by Sherell Martin, from the North West region of the
union. Sherell spoke about the great
achievements of the Venezuelan revolution and praised the work of Hands Off
Venezuela, especially its solidarity with the workers of Sanitarios Maracay.
Sherell concluded her speech by calling on delegates to support both
resolutions (173 and 174) welcoming the Venezuelan Revolution and urging the
union to affiliate to HOV.
Espe Espigares seconded the motion and also moved resolution
174. Espe also urged support for both resolutions and explained that the
Venezuelan Revolution is moving forward by the Venezuelan people taking their
destinies into their own hands. They have started the task of reconstructing
society along socialist lines. She also explained that the Venezuelan people
have stood up to the USA,
telling them "we won’t be your back yard any longer, you won’t bleed our
natural resources any more".
Espe explained that since our 2005 conference, when 97% of
delegates voted in favour of supporting Hands Off Venezuela, several branches
of Amicus have invited campaign speakers and have affiliated to HOV, including
the North West
region, the biggest region of the union. Conference warmly applauded this
For reasons best known to the NEC, they recommended
opposition to resolution 173. This was linked to the idea that the union was
now affiliated to the Venezuelan Information Centre and therefore affiliation
to HOV would "confuse" things. This argument did not hold water as other unions
were affiliated to both unions and this did not interfere with their solidarity
Following this, Sherell was asked to reply. She explained
briefly that there was no contradiction in supporting both motions, 173 and
174, and thanked conference for its warm support.
The vote was then taken on both resolutions, which were
passed almost unanimously, with only two votes against.
The decision to affiliate to HOV is a massive step forward
for the campaign. After last week’s decision of the GMB to affiliate to the
campaign, together with support from Unison and the T&G, means that the
Hands Off Venezuela campaign now has the support from the four largest trade
unions in Britain,
comprising some four million workers.
See also the resolution of Hands Off Venezuela