TUC Black Workers Fringe Meeting Report

Campaign News | Monday, 20 April 2015

Standing room only for packed meeting at TUC Black Workers Conference

Jorge Luis Garcia, Cuban Embassy Political Counsellor, spoke at a standing room only fringe meeting at the TUC Black Workers Conference, at Congress House, London.

Jorge said how there are “still many hurdles in the way of normalising relations with the US”. He gave examples of banks who are continuing to face fines for carrying out transactions with Cuba and how the US owes Cuba billions of dollars in compensation due to the impact of the blockade. “We must continue to defend our sovereignty and independence at all costs”, he said.

CSC Director, Rob Miller, who had just returned from Havana, gave a message from freed Miami Five prisoner Gerardo Hernandez thanking the British trade union movement for their support over the years for the Miami Five. He said Gerardo made clear that the struggle against the continuing US Blockade must go on and read out a message:

“Imperialism doesn’t just change from one day to another. In this regard we are going to have to face many new dangers, and of course we are still going to need solidarity from our friends around the world.”

Roger McKenzie, UNISON Assistant General Secretary, chaired the meeting. He highlighted the hypocrisy of the US, “who lecture the world on human rights but where black lives don’t matter - where black people can get gunned down on the street by police, on film, and yet nothing happens.”

“This fringe meeting reminds us what we are about, what we are here for as trade unionists. We get inspiration and fire in our bellies from Cuba and can take it to our workplace. It’s a reminder that not all countries are seeing the march of the elite, the march of the 1 % who make millions in profits whilst our people get poorer.

“Cuba and Venezuela reminds us all of this, why we are here, and when we compare black lives in Cuba and the US it demonstrates how this literally is a matter of a life and death, and why solidarity, being organised and being prepared to stand up for what’s right is so important”, McKenzie said.

CSC would like to thank Thompsons Solicitors for sponsoring this fringe meeting.

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