Victory for campaign against Open University ban

Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Cuba Update Special 8 November 2017

Thanks to the persistent campaigning of CSC members, affiliates and supporters the Open University has reversed its discriminatory policy of barring Cuban students from studying at the institution.

This campaign victory comes as a direct result of the actions taken by thousands of CSC supporters writing to the OU and to their MPs; the public statements and letters sent by trade unions with links to the OU, (the NUT, UCU, Unite and Unison); and the MPs who raised the issue with government ministers and in parliament. Without the constant pressure to expose OU policy, the bar would have continued without challenge.

While we welcome the statement issued by the OU on Wednesday 8 November announcing that they would now accept Cuban students, we believe that the bar should never have been enforced in the first place.

When faced with the choice of breaking the UK’s Equality Act, or risk of legal action from the United States Treasury Department, the OU chose to opt for a discriminatory policy against Cuban students. By default, they helped to implement US blockade policy in the UK.

It took a vigorous campaign from CSC, which drew national press coverage and saw questions raised in the Houses of Parliament, to shame the OU to take action to reverse their prejudiced policy.

But it should have been the British government, not the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, who challenged the Open University’s blatant disregard for British laws.

By barring a student’s application based on their Cuban nationality, the OU broke anti-discrimination legislation laid down by the 2010 Equality Act. By complying with the extraterritorial aspects of the US blockade, it contravened legislation which prohibits British companies and organisations ignoring UK laws in favour of US regulations.

Just a few days ago, on 1 November 2017, the British government voted with 190 other nations to condemn the US blockade of Cuba at the United Nations General Assembly. Yet, in reality they do nothing to back up this vote.

CSC believes that the government needs to follow through on their vote at the United Nations and decide whether this vote, and British laws, are worth the paper they are printed on. The only way to stop other companies and organisations capitulating to US Treasury threats is if the government sends a clear message that UK laws are sovereign. CSC calls on the government to make a public statement it will take swift and robust action against any future breaches of British law linked to extraterritorial US blockage legislation.

Once again, we thank all the friends and supporters for being part of this campaign victory by taking action to pressure to Open University to reverse its bar against Cuban students. It is a testament to the power of campaigning and international solidarity.

Thank you for your continued support.

If you are not already a member of CSC
please consider joining here

If you would like to support our work,
please donate here

Yours in solidarity

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign team


Dear Colleagues,

Please find a link below to an online survey asking UNISON members working for the NPS and the CRCs to provide input into UNISON’s response to the Justice Select Committee Inquiry into Transforming Rehabilitation. The call for evidence closes on 17 November and UNISON aims to put in one collective response on behalf of NPS and CRC members.

The Justice Select Committee wants to find out:

Whether the attempts by the MOJ at the end of July 2017 to improve CRC performance by giving them more money, and by making suggested changes to the probation inspection regime, are having any effect?

What impact Transforming Rehabilitation has had on sentencing, recalls, Serious Further Offences and Through the Gate?

What should be done to improve/reform Transforming Rehabilitation?

Your views as probation staff are vital to the outcome of the Committee’s Inquiry, so please do respond in any way you can. You do not need to answer every question and your comments are totally anonymous. Thank you in advance for your participation.

Responses must be made by no later than 12 midnight on 15 November.

CUBA – US isolated as UN votes 191-2 for end to blockade

At the United Nations General Assembly today, the world voted with Cuba in support of a resolution calling for an end to the 55 year old US blockade of the island.

US isolated as UN says end blockade by 191-2 votes

The final vote, 191 to 2, saw the United States isolated, as only it and Israel voted against all 191 other member states. Although the vote is non-binding it sends a clear message to the United States government that it stands alone when it comes to its policy of blockade.

In 2016, the US historically abstained for the first time after 24 years of voting against the resolution. In her speech to the UN, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador told the organisation said that they were reversing this decision since the US people had spoken by electing a new president (Trump) who supported the blockade.

She described the debate on the blockade at the United Nations as “political theatre” and said the US delegation was voting to continue the blockade out of solidarity with the Cuban people. Josefina Vidal, Cuba’s chief negotiator in talks with the US, branded these comments as disrespectful to the United Nations and an insult to Cuba.

Nikki Haley’s comments also contradict US public opinion which is in favour of normalising relations with Cuba and ending the blockade. On Tuesday 31 October a group of democratic senators urged Trump by letter to abstain from the vote again. “Our failed embargo against Cuba has been repeatedly and publicly condemned by the international community as ineffective and harmful to the people of Cuba,” the senators wrote. “The longer we maintain this outdated Cold War policy the more our international regional credibility suffers.”

Opening his speech to the UN, Bruno Rodriguez, Cuban Foreign Secretary, condemned the “offensive and interfering” statement made by Nikki Haley.

He described the blockade as “a flagrant, systematic and massive violation of the human rights of all Cubans.” “It can be described as an act of genocide”, and “an obstacle to the humanitarian support that Cuba offers to 81 countries of the global South,” he said.

Country representatives from across the globe spoke in support of the Cuban resolution, praising the country for the international solidarity that it provided to many poor nations in the form of medical brigades and training, despite the effects of the blockade on its own economy. They also lamented the deteriorating relations between the US and Cuba following the election of Donald Trump and called on the US to return to the path of respectful relations with the island.

In response to the vote, CSC director, Rob Miller said:

“This is a cynical move by the US government. The Trump administration, in its desperation to appease right-wing politicians, is systematically destroying the last two years of progress in diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“At a time when the island needs materials and equipment to aid its recovery from Hurricane Irma, the US policy appears more vicious than ever. It is vitally important to maintain the international campaign against the US blockade so that the US government receives a clear message that the rest of the world supports the Cuban people in their call to end this cruel and archaic policy.”

Find out more:


Future meetings
Find out more about Cuba’s resistance to US aggression and its achievements in the face of the longest economic blockade in history by coming to one of our forthcoming events including the Che Guevara Anniversary Tour with Che’s daughter, Aleida, and a special parliamentary meeting with Cuban MPs in November, plus the 12th annual Latin America Conference in December.

Stress is the UK’s top health and safety concern, say union workplace reps


The 11th biennial TUC survey of union health and safety representatives, published today (Friday) during European Health and Safety at Work Week, finds the top-five cited hazards were stress, bullying and harassment, overwork, back strains and slips, and trips and falls on a level.

In top place was stress. Over two-thirds of safety reps (67 per cent) taking part in the survey said that stress, and the effect it is having on their colleagues, is one of the main concerns they have to deal with at work.

One in six of the workplace reps who completed the survey say their employers are failing to conduct risk assessments, which is a breach of health and safety law, says the TUC.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s shocking that so many employers are breaking the law and putting their staff at risk of illness and accidents by their sheer negligence. Not only does this put people in danger while doing their jobs, the consequences also carry a high cost for British businesses and public services because it results in lower productivity and more staff spending time off sick.

“Stress remains the top concern for health and safety workplace reps. It’s a particular problem in parts of the public sector like the NHS and local government that have been hit by cuts and top-down reorganisations. Sickness and absence from stress is one of the false economies of public sector austerity.”


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Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Cuba Update 19 October 2017
Cuba reports on blockade damages in advance of UN vote

Cuba reports on blockade damages in advance of UN vote

Cuba has published a report outlining the extensive damages caused by the US blockade during the last year in advance of the annual United Nations General Assembly vote on 1 November.

Education, health, sports, culture, industrial development, tourism, food and information and communications technology continue to be some of the sectors most affected by the aggressive US policy which has cost the island $US1.3 trillion since it was imposed 55 years ago.

This Report, presented by Cuba every year as a prelude to the UN vote on the resolution, also exposes the widespread condemnation of the blockade within US society and the international community, and the Cuban people’s demand for an immediate end to the failed policy.

Cuba Solidarity Campaign slams Trump decision to expel diplomats

Cuba Solidarity Campaign slams Trump decision to expel diplomats

Cuba solidarity campaigners have accused US President Donald Trump of pandering to hard-line Republicans by expelling Cuban diplomats from its Washington embassy.

Britain’s Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) spoke out after the US government ordered Havana to cut staff at the embassy by 60 per cent.

Trump’s drastic move follows bizarre claims that at least 21 US embassy staff in Havana — mainly spies operating under diplomatic cover — were made ill by “sonic attacks” starting in November last year, days after US President Donald Trump’s election.

CSC Director Rob Miller stressed that Cuba had denied involvement in the alleged attacks — and the US had not yet explicitly blamed Havana for the mysterious high-pitched noises reported.

Further reading:

Fifty years gone but Che's legacy lives on

Fifty years gone but Che’s legacy lives on

Half a century ago, on October 9 1967, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was assassinated by Mario Terán, a Bolivian army officer, following orders from the CIA. The Argentinian-born Cuban revolutionary hero died leading a guerrilla struggle against the US-backed Bolivian military regime of Rene Barrientos, eight years after playing a leading role in the Cuban revolution.

The enduring legacy of the Cuban revolution has been at the heart of the longevity of Che’s legend.

It has delivered sovereignty, dignity and independence to the Cuban people, with achievements including free and universal healthcare, education and social care, despite all the difficulties imposed by the US blockade.

Dates for your diary :– Aleida Guevara Tour, Cuban MPs meeting and Latin America 2017

Dates for your diary :– Aleida Guevara Tour, Cuban MPs meeting and Latin America 2017

We have a packed winter schedule with the nationwide Che Guevara Anniversary Tour with Che’s daughter, Aleida, and a special parliamentary meeting with Cuban MPs in November, plus the 12th annual Latin America Conference in December.

Please check event details to ensure you register for tickets with plenty of time.

Che Guevara Anniversary Tour with Che’s daughter, Aleida Guevara

Monday 6 November – Belfast – 7.00pm
First Presbyterian Church in Rosemary Street, BT1 1QB.
Contact for more information.

Tuesday 7 November – Denbigh – 7.30pm
Denbigh Town Hall, Denbigh, North Wales, LL16 3TB.
Reserve places in advance by writing to

Wednesday 8 November – Manchester – 6.30pm
The Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, M1 6DD.

Thursday 9 November – Sheffield – Doors 6.30pm/7pm start
The Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James Street, S1 2EW.

Friday 10 November – London – 6pm
UCL Medical Sciences Building,
Room 131 AV Hill Lecture Theatre, Malet Place, WC1E 7JG
Register in advance at >

Saturday 11 November – Glasgow – 4pm – 6.30pm
Scottish Cuba Solidarity Campaign Rally
STUC, 333 Woodlands Road, G3 6NG

Elections and the role of MPs in Cuba

Tuesday 28 November – House of Commons – 6.30pm

A high level Cuban parliamentary delegation will visit their counterparts in the British parliament in November as part of an exchange visit co-ordinated by the Inter Parliamentary Union. The six National Assembly members make up the largest ever delegation from the Cuban parliament to the UK, and the visit falls just before important general elections are due to take place in Cuba in early 2018.

CSC in association with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cuba will host a public meeting with the MPs about their work and elections in Cuba.

Place are limited so please register in advance to attend by emailing or call Ollie Hopkins on 0207 490 5715.

Latin America Conference 2017

Saturday 2 December – 10am-5pm Registration from 9.15am
Congress House, London

With countries across Latin America facing a resurgent right and the threat of external intervention from Trump, this year’s Latin America Conference will be the most crucial yet. More than 50 speakers representing progressive movements and governments from across Latin America, and politicians, journalists, trade unionists and campaigners from Britain and around the world will take part in plenary and workshop sessions throughout the day.

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Cuba on our Winter Solidarity Brigade

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What’s on near you in this summer, events in Glasgow, Whitstable, Norwich, Coventry and London.

CSC local group events


THIS SUNDAY – March for decent health, homes, jobs and education – national demonstration

1 October 201712:00pm–6:00pm

Castlefield Arena, Rice Street, Manchester M3 4JR

Add to calendar

Get directions

National demonstration as part of the week-long Take Back Manchester festival organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity to coincide with the Conservative Party conference.

No more austerity | scrap the pay cap | Tories out – for decent health, homes, jobs and education

March for for decent health, homes, jobs and education. Public service workers need a pay rise. #PayUpNow #ScrapTheCap

National demonstration on the opening day of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, organised by the People’s Assembly.

Assemble from 12pm, Castlefield Arena Rice Street, Manchester M3 4JR.

The demonstration is part of a week of protest, demonstrations, cultural events, rallies, comedy, music and public meetings all across Manchester.











0161 761 6419


















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 UNISON DIRECT ON 0800 085 7857





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TEL:  07902792741


Hurricane Irma Appeal – updates and donations

Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Special Cuba Update – 11 September 2017

Hurricane Irma Appeal – updates and donations

Hurricane Irma Appeal

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign extends its sympathy and solidarity to all those affected by Hurricane Irma which devastated many Caribbean islands this week.

Cuban authorities are still assessing the full extent of the damage, but it is believed to be far worse than originally anticipated, with significant damage to infrastructure, tourist resorts and agriculture. Those wishing to donate to hurricane relief work can do so via the Cuba Solidarity Campaign Hurricane Irma Appeal – details below.

The category 5 hurricane, the strongest on record for the last 100 years, tore along Cuba’s eastern and northern coast between 8-10 September. Winds of around 250km/h (156mph) and waves between 5-8 metres high have caused major damage to coastal communities, tourist resorts, agriculture and industry, taking out power and communication lines.

Severe flooding in Havana and other towns has penetrated further inland than usual. In Havana the sea breached the malecon sea wall several blocks back into the city. Residents have been warned that waters may remain high for several days along hundreds of kilometres of coastline.

Irma comes less than a year after Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 storm, devastated Cuba’s eastern provinces in October 2016, and many of these communities were still recovering from this when Irma hit.

The full impact on the economy has yet to be judged, but it is feared that many of the all inclusive tourist resorts and farmland in central Cuba have been badly damaged with potentially devastating effects on the economy. The Jardines de Rey international airport, which served the all inclusive northern keys resorts, has been badly damaged, and more than 5,000 tourists evacuated from hotels in this area.

President Raul Castro issued a statement on Sunday 10 September which said that tourist resorts would be restored before the start of the peak season in November: “We have the necessary human and material resources, as one of the main sources of income for the national economy.

“It has been hard days for our people, who in only a few hours have seen how everything we have built with great effort has been struck down by a devastating hurricane. The pictures of the last hours are eloquent, as is the spirit of resistance and victory of our people who are reborn with every adversity,” he added.

So far there have been no reports of hurricane related deaths in Cuba, although 26 people have died on other islands hit by the storm. This is mainly thanks to Cuba’s renowned hurricane preparedness programmes which have won praise from the United Nations as “a model in hurricane risk management.” Last year’s Hurricane Matthew didn’t kill anyone in Cuba, although it killed 271 people in nearby Haiti. In advance of Irma, one million Cubans were evacuated to shelters and higher ground for protection.

Despite the damage and chaos caused by Irma, Cuba has continued its commitment to humanitarian support for other countries. More than 750 Cuban health workers have already arrived on other islands affected by Hurricane Irma, including Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Haiti, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, and the Bahamas.

CSC sends its solidarity to the Cuban people in the mammoth task they have ahead to rebuild their communities. We call once again for the US government to end its inhumane blockade of the country so that the Cuban people can access the building materials and equipment they will need to rebuild their country following this tragedy.

You can make donations to the CSC Hurricane Appeal below. 100% of all donations will be passed on to relief work in Cuba.

CSC Hurricane Appeal:

Donations made through CSC should be clearly marked ‘Cuba Hurricane Relief’

Please make cheques out to CSC and send to:
Cuba Solidarity Campaign c/o UNITE, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB, UK

You can also donate online via our website here. Remember to mark “Irma Hurricane relief” in the message box.

For credit card or bank transfers call +44 (0)20 7490 5715 or email

Further updates on hurricane relief and donations will be posted on, our Facebook and Twitter pages and in the October issue of CubaSí magazine.

Thank you for your support.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign team


Cuba Solidarity Campaign c/o Unite, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7490 5715 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7490 3556 | Email |

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My job’s been called Mickey Mouse probation. I’m now inclined to agree

I’ve worked in probation for a long time. It has never been perfect, but before then-justice secretary Chris Grayling got his hands on it, it was said to be a high-performing public service. Now, though, it is difficult to believe what a complete mess it is in.

I work in a community rehabilitation company (CRC), one of 21 private sector firms working with so-called medium- and low-risk clients. Many people are on my caseload because of domestic violence, and there are often concerns about the impact on their children. Most have alcohol, drug or mental health issues. It’s always been a worrying job.

But the CRC I work for is now owned by a company that doesn’t understand my work. These private companies are still miles off the pace in trying to deliver an impossibly complex contract, supervising hundreds of thousands of offenders. After experiences that have included shedding a third of staff, setting up partnerships from scratch, sourcing new buildings, many of which are hard to access, and installing open booths for us to work in, we have been left working in what one client memorably nicknamed “Mickey Mouse probation”.

That particular client refused to use the open booths because of his offence and history. Instead we met outside or in group rooms, when available. I personally feel very uncomfortable when I have to use a booth to meet clients. It means most of our face-to-face work is overheard, overseen and open to disruption. Not surprisingly there has been an increase in incidents, which now seem to occur on a daily basis.

The problems don’t stop there. The interface with the National Probation Service is fractured: cases swap between the two systems as they go back to court, with mistakes rife, and palpable friction between the organisations. Essentially we feel we are misleading the courts and the public every day about what we can deliver. It is frightening.

Promises of new ways of working, and new IT systems, haven’t materialised, leaving us tied to the existing, inefficient technology to hit our funding-linked targets. Frequent inspections and auditing – akin to something out of Big Brother – confirm that the best we can hope to be is sufficient. Any poor record keeping is met with commands by email to rectify things immediately.

The Guardian 2nd September 2017

7th Wigan Diggers’ Festival – Saturday 9th September 2017

Our 7th Annual FREE Festival

This year’s festival will be another fun packed day of activities in The Wiend, Wigan town centre.

With live music and other entertainment across two stages, film showings, kid’s activities, educational talks, exhibitions, puppet shows and lots of other stuff going on in nearby venues and Wigan town centre.

We’ll also have our usual and ever popular ‘Occupie Wigan’ beer tent, and over 50 food, book, campaign and other stalls.

Around 5,000 people attended last year’s event, and a great time was had by all. We’re planning on making this year’s even bigger and better. Why not come and jin us and make a day of it?

Please invite your family & friends



Renationalise failing privatised probation services, say unions

The government must bring failing privatised probation services back under public control instead of leaving the taxpayer to bail them out, UNISON, NAPO and GMB said today (Wednesday).

The three public service unions have written to justice secretary David Lidington highlighting how ‘risky and controversial’ reforms – where private probation firms manage thousands of people who have committed offences – are not working.

They say findings from a long-awaited review of these so-called community rehabilitation companies (CRCs) must be published in full, along with details of the public money that has been spent keeping CRCs solvent.

The call comes as new figures* released by the government show a rise in the number of people who commit serious crimes while already serving sentences outside prison.

This is since probation service reforms were introduced three years ago.

UNISON, NAPO and GMB also warn about the government’s next privatisation plan to outsource contracts for night-time supervision in probation hostels.

These premises house some of the most dangerous people to be released from prison before they are allowed to live in the community.

The public could be put at risk because private companies will employ poorly trained staff and pay them low wages, say the three unions.

UNISON national officer Ben Priestley said: “People are potentially being put at risk because private firms have not delivered on keeping the public safe.

“The justice secretary has admitted that privatisation isn’t working yet wants to continue this experiment through night-time supervision.

“What’s needed instead are properly trained public sector employees. That’s why the government must take back control of failing private probation services.”

NAPO general secretary Ian Lawrence said: “Ministers were warned that privatisation would damage an award-winning service, and standards would deteriorate.

“This is now becoming reality and having a negative impact on public safety, staff well-being and the ability of people who have committed offences to turn their lives around.

“The government must now take urgent action, and these reforms should be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny.”

GMB national pensions organiser George Georgiou said: “Probation services have suffered more than most under this government. These latest proposals will only undermine provision and morale, and put the public at further risk.

“It’s time to put common sense first and invest properly. Privatisation has completely failed and the last thing we need is more of it.”

Notes to editors:
* A total of 517 reviews were triggered in England and Wales in 2016 to 17 after charges for murder and other offences including rape. This is a rise of more than 100 since 2012 according to the data released this month by justice minister Sam Gyimah.
– Former justice secretary Chris Grayling created a total of 21 privately run CRCs in 2014 to manage low to medium-risk offenders, and replaced the former probation trusts. A new National Probation Service (NPS) was created at the same time to deal with high-risk offenders.
– CRCs were awarded seven-year contracts worth a total of £3.7bn, but nearly all have reported they are already making a loss.

Media contacts:
– UNISON: Sophie Goodchild T: 0207 121 5546 M: 07767 325595 E:
– NAPO: Tania Bassett T: 0207 223 4887 M: 07904 184195 E:
– GMB: Alex Jones M: 07958 156846 E:

Open University bans Cuban students – take action now

Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Cuba Update Campaign Action

Open University bans Cuban students – take action now

Open University bans Cuban students – take action nowOne of Britain’s biggest educational institutions, The Open University, is operating a policy that bans applications from Cuban students. The OU cites fear of prosecution from United States’ anti-Cuba blockade laws as justification.

Please take action to end this discriminatory policy today.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign believes that the Open University’s action is unethical and illegal under UK law, and is asking supporters to take action to overturn it now.

By barring applications from a group of students based on their Cuban nationality, the OU is breaking anti-discrimination legislation laid down by the 2010 Equality Act.

By complying with the extraterritorial aspects of the blockade, it is also in contravention of legislation which prevents British companies and organisations ignoring UK laws in favour of the US.

Such cases highlight the global reach of the blockade and its impact on the Cuban people.

In June, President Trump further reinforced the anachronistic US policy by rolling back many of the limited openings for trade with the US that the Obama administration had started. In doing so he has sent a message to international companies and organisations that they can still be penalised for working with Cuba.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign has written to the British government calling on them to intervene and force the OU to back down. We have asked them to invoke the powers enshrined in antidote legislation, the ‘Protection of Trading Interests law’ passed in 1996, to protect British interests against any such US bullying.

If the Open University refuses to abide by UK law then necessary action should be taken against them.

We need your help to make sure this happens.

Please write to your MP today and ask them to intervene in this case today.

In 2007, CSC led a huge campaign together with MPs, trade unions and supporters which forced Hilton to back down from a similar ban on Cuban guests. We are confident that with your support, the Open University will reverse their discriminatory policy too.

Thank you for your support.

The Cuba Solidarity Campaign team



Cuba Solidarity Campaign c/o Unite, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7490 5715 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7490 3556 | Email |

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UNISON legal victory sees employment tribunal fees scrapped

Supreme Court verdict follows four-year fight by union and is a victory for everyone in work

Employment tribunal fees will be scrapped after UNISON won a landmark court victory against the government this morning. 

The Supreme Court – the UK’s highest court – has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.

From today, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.

 The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals  since July 2013, when fees were introduced by then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling.

Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200. This has been a huge expense for many low-paid employees, says UNISON.

Reacting to this morning‘s decision, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The government is not above the law. But when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.

Read the full Supreme Court judgement in
R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor

 “The government has been acting unlawfully, and has been proved wrong – not just on simple economics, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too.

 “It’s a major victory for employees everywhere. UNISON took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. Unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand.

 “These unfair fees have let law-breaking bosses off the hook these past four years, and left badly treated staff with no choice but to put up or shut up.

“We’ll never know how many people missed out because they couldn’t afford the expense of fees. But at last this tax on justice has been lifted.”

 UNISON assistant general secretary Bronwyn McKenna added: “The Supreme Court correctly criticised the government’s failure when it set the fees to consider the public benefits flowing from the enforcement of legal rights enacted by Parliament.  

 “The effective enforcement of these rights is fundamental to parliamentary democracy and integral to the development of UK law. UNISON’s case has helped clarify the law and gives certainty to citizens and businesses in their everyday lives.”

 The decision marks the end of a four-year fight by UNISON to overturn the government’s introduction of fees.


Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Cuba Update 7 July 2017
Parliamentarians briefed on new Trump measures against Cuba

Parliamentarians briefed on new Trump measures against Cuba

Dr Carlos Alzugaray, former Cuban diplomat, writer and academic was invited by Cuba Solidarity Campaign (CSC) to the UK for a series of high level meetings with parliamentarians and trade unionists, and public meetings, where he gave an update on Cuba-US relations following the change in Cuba policy recently announced by President Trump in Miami.

In a brief but busy visit, Dr Alzugaray, an expert on Cuba-US relations, spoke to MPs, academics and trade union representatives at an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Cuba briefing session in Westminster; addressed the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Cuba in Holyrood; met with the Labour Group at Edinburgh City Council and took part in public meetings.

Cuban Union leaders warmly received at Unison conference

Cuban Union leaders warmly received at Unison conference

Santiago Badía González, SNTS General Secretary (Cuban Health Workers’ Union) and Dulce María Iglesias Suárez, SNTAP General Secretary (Cuban Public Administration Workers’ Union) were guests at Unison’s national conference in Brighton in June.

They addressed the Local Government Conference, International Rally and the CSC fringe meeting, and met with regional delegations to discuss strengthening relations between the two unions.

CSC refutes Guardian claim that the blockade is over

CSC refutes Guardian claim that the blockade is over

In June, CSC had a letter published in The Guardian in response to a piece published about Donald Trump’s new Cuba policy. In the article, journalist Julian Borger had claimed that one of Obama’s signature foreign policy achievements, had been to end “an embargo of more than a half century”.

“CSC also emailed and tweeted Julian Borger directly and received an apology for the misleading information and the article on the Guardian website was subsequently updated to state that Obama had achieved an “easing” rather than an “ending of the embargo”.

15th Garden Party for Cuba

15th Garden Party for Cuba

More than 500 trade unionists, solidarity activists, friends of Cuba, salsa lovers and MPs enjoyed the 15th RMT Garden Party for Cuba at Maritime House in South London in June.

Guests at the capacity event were treated to a Cuban-style fiesta with rallying speeches, stand up comedy, live music, dancing, food, drink and great weather on the summer solstice – the hottest June day in over 40 years!

MPs in attendance included John McDonnell, Cat Smith, Ian Lavery, Ian Mearns, Chris Williamson, Danielle Rowley and Andy McDonald, together with several trade union leaders.

Visit Cuba in 2017

Visit Cuba in 2017

Join one of our great tours in 2017 for a unique insight into Cuba, its history and people, only available when you book with the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

CSC’s Cuba Travel Shop offers you the chance to be more than just a tourist and meet and interact with Cubans in their communities and work places. We have three great tours and brigades on offer for 2017, including the Following Fidel Study Tour in November, the Che Guevara Anniversary Brigade in October, and the Winter Solidarity Brigade in December.

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What’s on near you in this summer, events in Glasgow, Sheffield, Oxford, London and Norwich.

CSC local group events


Cuba Solidarity Campaign c/o Unite, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7490 5715 | Fax: +44 (0)20 7490 3556 | Email |

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Trade Unions for Cuba eNewsletter Summer 2017 edition

Not One Day More #ToriesOUT – National Demonstration – Saturday, 1 July 2017

Re: Not One Day More #ToriesOUT – National Demonstration – Saturday, 1 July 2017

Branches sending delegations on regional transport please note the following arrangements:-

1. Outward tickets are flexible. For those branches travelling on early trains to Euston, North West members are encouraged to gather on the concourse outside of Euston Station at 1030am and walk together behind the regional banner to the assembly point.

2. The assembly point is at BBC Broadcasting House Portland Place, London W1A 1AA. (Nearest tube: Oxford Circus, Regents Park, Great Portland Street).

3. The march at 12 noon is to Parliament Square. (Nearest tube: Westminster, Embankment, Charing Cross). Train tickets include underground travel in Zone 1.

4. A limited number of tickets remain available from Liverpool, Manchester and Preston. Please contact Angela Twigg ( at Regional Office ASAP.

5. The hashtag for the day is #endausterity

UNISON Welfare School Uniform Grant 2017

Get help with school uniform costs this summer

Struggling to make ends meet?

Worried about back to school costs?

Help is on hand

We have set up a limited fund to help UNISON members on low income with school uniform costs by way of a one-off payment of up to £120.

To apply, download the application form below

UNISON branch office.

2017 SUG form and survey

2017 sug QandAs


Closing date for receipt of applications is 21st July 2017.