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05/12/2009 - Solidarity Slams Scottish TUC

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SOLIDARITY TRADE UNION has slammed the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) for trying to politicise a recent UEFA Europa League football match.

The STUCs Deputy General Secretary Dave Moxham had called upon Celtic supporters to wave Palestinian flags at last Wednesday's game with Israeli team Hapoel Tel Aviv FC. 

Mr. Moxham declared that by flying the flags “Celtic fans will join with us in a demonstration of support for a just and lasting peace in Israel/Palestine based on a safe and secure Palestinian homeland living side by side with
Israel.”

Solidarity acknowledges that there is a fine line between basic trade union work and politics.  However, we believe that the STUCs main concern should be defending the jobs, pay and working conditions of Scottish workers. 

Solidarity General Secretary Patrick Harrington said:

“If the STUC wants to demonstrate, why not demonstrate in support of the Diageo workers in
Kilmarnock and Port Dundas in Glasgow?  Around 900 people will be thrown on the scrap heap if Diageo go ahead and axe their jobs.

In July, around 20,000 people marched through the centre of
Kilmarnock to protest against the job cuts.  Since then the STUC hasn’t organized a similar-sized demonstration.  Why not?  Is it more interested in Palestine than Scotland?”

He also claimed that the STUC were encouraging an atmosphere of conflict at the game:-

"I don't think it was sensible to encourage the taunting of Israeli fans with Palestinian flags. I would like to see a Just and lasting peace and brighter future for Israel and Palestine but a football match is not the appropriate place to raise this issue. The STUC call was irresponsible."

Mr. Harrington also re-stated his belief that the main role of a trade union is to negotiate with employers over wages, work rules, hours, health and safety issues and so on.

“Solidarity is a Trade Union in the purest sense.  The protection of British workers' economic and social interests are at the core of our agenda.

Membership is open to all British workers irrespective of political or religious affiliation, cultural or ethnic background or sexual orientation”.