UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Support call for visit by Vietnam unions

TU Friends of Vietnam are calling on the Olympic committee to reconsider sponsorship from Agent Orange manufacturer Dow Chemicals as they urge union support for a visit by Vietnamese trade unionists in September.
  Agent Orange was used in Vietnam until 1971 by the US to destroy forests and crops to expose opponents. It entered the food chain resulting in thousands of abnormal births with the tragic legacy of ongoing serious illnesses and deformities. Dow Chemicals which produced so much of the destructive poisons is an Olympic sponsor until 2020 and has so far refused any form of compensation to Vietnam. See leaflet.

On a more positive note, the visit coincides with new labour laws in Vietnam, bringing better maternity and other rights to women workers.

Two years ago representatives of the Vietnamese General Confederation of Labour visited unions and the TUC. Congress called for closer links with Vietnamese unions and TUFV are co-ordinating another visit this year.

“We will welcome on this visit Bro. Hoang Ngoc Thanh, Vice President of the VGCL, Sis. Dang Thi Kim Lien, Member of VGCL Presidium, and President of Da Nang City Federation of Labour and ChauNhatBinh, Deputy Director, VGCL International Department. Our colleagues from Vietnam are especially interested in developing their trade union training capacities, collective bargaining and health and safety work”, says Doug Nicholls, Secretary TUFV, in a letter to UK unions.

Before Congress, TUFV are holding a public meeting on 8 September at 11.00 in the Marx Memorial Library in Clerkenwell Green, London, to welcome the guests and hear from them and journalist and author Victoria Brittain who reported from Vietnam during the war.

Calling for practical support for the visit, Doug adds in the letter, “During the terrible period of the war against Vietnam British trade unionists gave generously to the Vietnamese. We are appealing for some generosity again in order that this visit can be funded and successful. Donations to make this visit a success would be greatly appreciated. Please make any cheques payable to Trade Union Friends of Vietnam and sent to Trade Union Friends of Vietnam, c/o 4th Floor Headland House 308-312 Grays Inn Road London WC1X 8DP (07557 770230) http://www.tradeunionfriendsofvietnam.blogspot.com/

TUFV would like to hear from colleagues who would like to meet the delegation and support the ongoing work of TUFV.