18 Feb 2009


thanks to James Caspell for sending me this.

The Lambeth Branch of UNISON, the second largest trade union in the UK, has raised over £2000 for Medical Aid for Palestinians through a fundraising drive throughout the Borough's workplaces. Nationally, UNISON has committed to send a donation of £10,000 to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and Lambeth Branch activists collected a further £2020.43 for MAP's Emergency Appeal for Gaza through a series of collections amongst Lambeth's workers.

In the wake of recent Israeli military action, MAP has set up an emergency task force team to provide medical supplies and expertise throughout Gaza, as well as ensuring that the central blood bank has sufficient capacity and can provide emergency shelter. Palestinian medical sources say at least 1,300 Palestinians have been killed and 5,500 injured as a result of Israel's latest military offensive. The United Nations states that some 50,800 people are now homeless and 400,000 are without running water. Staff in Gaza report that many more people could die as medical equipment runs out.

Lambeth UNISON voted at its January Branch Committee to condemn the recent slaughter of Palestinians and the ongoing occupation by Israel. Calling for, "an immediate end to the slaughter of defenceless people and the [ongoing] siege of Gaza" the Branch concluded that, "Israel is a terrorist and apartheid state," and advocated academic, economic and cultural boycotts of Israel in an effort to delegitimise the Occupation of Palestine, and build international and domestic pressure against the state.

Lambeth UNISON International Officer Gurmeet Khurana, stated: "It's great to see Lambeth's workers demonstrating their solidarity with the people of Gaza. To raise over £2000 is fantastic and many more people donated online through the publicity produced by the branch. Thanks to all members and Branch activists who worked to raise awareness and provide material support for the Palestinian people. However, all trade unionists must continue to raise this issue in our branches and with our members and step-up solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine."

Jon Rogers, Branch Secretary added: "The trade union movement in Britain can play a crucial role in putting pressure on the British Government as well as the Israeli state to end the occupation of Palestine. Lambeth UNISON is proud to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Palestine and we will continue to support those in Britain and around the world who are working to bring equality, democracy and peace for all in the Middle East. We encourage branches in UNISON and other unions to do the same."

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