Ever since the founding of Hands Off Venezuela the campaign has sought to take the message of the Venezuelan Revolution to as many trade unionists as possible. As a result of our work, resolutions supporting the revolution have been passed at a large number of trade union national conferences, such as GMB, CWU, USDAW, NUJ, ASLEF, AMICUS, NATFHE, PCS, FBU, RMT and UNISON, the bulk of which have affiliated to the national campaign. Other unions, such as the TGWU, have also affiliated to the campaign, especially at local and regional level. Many Trades Councils have also done likewise.
A growing number of unions have directly praised the work of Hands Off Venezuela, such as BECTU, COMMUNITY, and the 1.3 million-strong public sector union UNISON.
At last year’s UNISON conference, for example, a HOV-sponsored motion was passed in which "conference pledges its support for the initiatives of the labour movement backed campaigns that further the above aims", and specifically mentioned the Hands Off Venezuela campaign, working "positively on a range of initiatives" and "continuing to build solidarity and raise the profile of Venezuela in a range of areas."
All in all, this means that trade unions numbering nearly six million members have shown support in one form or other for HOV.
At this year’s annual conference of the National Union of Journalists, delegates passed a HOV-sponsored motion, moved by Hélène Mulholland, applauding "the advances made by the Venezuelan people and government in redistributing the country’s wealth and, especially, in democratising the media in spite of a concerted and virulent campaign of hostility from the owners of the private media." NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear commented: "Our union has, once again, expressed support for the enormous social progress in Venezuela and the need for good reporting on the subject."
At the Fire Fighters’ union conference, HOV was able to bring over Ruben Linares from the Venezuelan Transport Union and one of the founding members of the UNT (the Venezuelan TUC). He was invited to address conference in order to give delegates a real flavour of the revolution and what it has achieved for the people.
He finished his speech by thanking the FBU and the labour movement in general for its solidarity with the Venezuelan people and encouraged us to work for our own revolution in Britain. The union was so delighted that it donated £1,600 to the campaign funds.
This year’s train drivers’ union national conference (ASLEF) reaffirmed its support for the Venezuelan Revolution submitted by HOV supporters. The EC was also instructed to affiliate the union to the solidarity campaigns, including HOV. The union was one of their first to support HOV and has maintained a link to the campaign from its website. A similar motion is being debated at this year’s rail union (RMT) conference.
In June HOV attended the postal workers’ union conference (CWU), where the union hosted a successful ‘Latin America’ fringe meeting. The meeting was chaired by Jane Loftus, the newly-elected President of the CWU. Jorge Martin from HOV, together with speakers from Nicaragua, Cuba, and Columbia solidarity campaigns, spoke on the progress of the revolution.
The 700,000-strong GMB passed a motion unanimously at its June conference supporting "the marvellous struggle of the Venezuelan working class to create a socialist society which can act as a bulwark to US imperialism in Latin America." It gave support to the solidarity movement, including HOV.
The latest national affiliation came from the 1,300,000 AMICUS trade union, which also passed two resolutions supporting the Venezuelan Revolution.
We urge all trade unionists to help affiliate their unions at national, regional and branch level to the Hands Off Venezuela Campaign. For more assistance, contact Britain@handsoffvenezuela.org
The Campaign continues to make a splash in the trade union movement. Finally, it was directly due to the work of HOV that the six-million strong TUC passed a resolution supporting Venezuelan government in 2005. Hopefully, with our help, it will do so again this year.
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