Unanimous support for solidarity with Cuba at TUC Congress
Campaign News | Thursday, 12 September 2019
The TUC Congress - representing over 6.3 million workers in 48 trade unions in Britain - voted unanimously at the 2019 Congress in Brighton in support of Motion 74 Cuba and the US blockade, which expresses alarm at the Trump administration’s recent actions to tighten the blockade against Cuba.
The motion congratulated the Cuban people on the 60th anniversary of the Revolution and the 80th anniversary of the CTC and agreed to support and publicise the Unions for Cuba Conference on 2 November 2019.
Steve Gillan, POA General Secretary moved the motion. He explained how it had been ten years since the last Cuba motion at the TUC Congress and how “a lot has changed since then.”
“However, the one thing that has not changed in those ten years, and indeed, the last six decades, is the US blockade. And let me remind you of the impact of the blockade. It has cost the Cuban economy $933 billion dollars. It’s the longest sanctions imposed against any country in history,” he said.
“We do not claim that Cuba is perfect. The Cuban people don’t either, they know there is a lot they can improve on. But the country has achieved so much against the odds - imagine what they could have achieved without the blockade.”
Jayne Taylor, Unite Vice-Chair seconded the motion. She spoke of how Cuba’s achievements in health, education and internationalism are “inspirational in themselves, but when you know they have been carried out by a small island, with few natural resources or wealth, in the face of a 57 year old US blocked they are quite staggering.”
GMB’s Lorraine Parker Delaz Ajete spoke in support of the motion: “The rights we have gained through our trade union movement were never granted to us. We fought for them. And now they are under attack by Boris Johnson. The rights that Cuban people won to create a better society free from imperialism and inequality was not granted to them either, they fought for them and they are now under attack by Boris Johnson’s mate, Donald Trump.
“Trump wants to bully the world into shutting its doors on the Cuban people – Cuba will not stand for it and neither should we,” the GMB delegate added.
Philipa Harvey, National Education Union delegate was the final speaker in support of the motion: “Cuba is an example that when there is the political will, education can be a priority, it can be free and universal, it can be inclusive for all abilities and ages. There are no university tuition fees in Cuba. The country spends the highest percentage in the world of its GDP on education. In 2017, 51% of its annual budget was spent on health, education and social services.
“Our members on the NEU delegations to Cuba have seen for themselves how education is given top priority in resource allocation and public policy. They have seen how teachers are valued and listened to on the curriculum.”
TUC President Mark Serwotka told CTC General Secretary Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, who was a keynote speaker at the Congress on Sunday that, “he can take back to his colleagues the overwhelming support of conference.”
Rob Miller, Cuba Solidarity Campaign said: “This is a historic moment for international solidarity with Cuba. Despite all the US efforts to isolate Cuba and overthrow the Revolution, the support from the trade unions here shows that Cuba is not alone. It’s a testament to the British trade union movement that they stand shoulder to shoulder with the Cuban people at this crucial time, when the Trump administration is tightening the blockade to unprecedented levels.”