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.


PSC defeats government attempts to outlaw boycott, divestment and sanctions

The Government has acted unlawfully by attempting to restrict local councils from pursuing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel through their pension schemes.

Palestine campaigners hailed the triumph the ruling represented for the BDS movement, stating “Today is a victory for Palestine, for local democracy, and for the rule of law.”

Administrative Court judge Sir Ross Cranston granted the judicial review on 22 June, determining that the Government had acted for an improper purpose.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has won a key victory for the peaceful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the UK government today. War on Want, Campaign Against Arms Trade and the Quakers supported the legal challenge with witness statements.

What this means for Pension Funds,

We have argued that the Department for Communities and Local Government were wrong in September 2016 specifically to curtail divestment campaigns against Israeli and international firms implicated in Israel’s violations of international law.  Now we have been proven right.

Kev Allsop, Unison Delegate to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund

Unison rise to the challenge of Climate Change

Members of the Northwest Probation and CAFCASS branch will remember the divestment motion that it passed back in 2015.  That motion this week became UNISONs national policy


What it means is that unison will encourage the LGPF (All probation staff amongst many others are members of the GMPF) to divest from Fossil Fuel extraction and then invest into a just transition.

Kev Allsop, who has been at the fore of the campaign said “ Unisons National Delegate Conference, our trade unions sovereign body, has today accepted the very real progress we can make in achieving carbon neutral pension funds.

Whilst austerity has certainly benefit the ruling classes it has done nothing to increase the lot of our members and the communities in which we live.   And at a time when fuel sovereignty is vital we should not be investing in nuclear energy but instead sustainable forms of energy production“

Not only do Unison see  a very real opportunity to move £billions from Fossil Fuel extraction but have the foresight to imagine how these funds could be used to boost the economy and create jobs delivering anything from Sustainable Energy production to Council Housing creating both jobs and much needed homes benefitting generations to come whilst reducing the cost of pensions and housing benefit to the taxpayer.

Sustainable Energy production and Council Housing require a significant amount of Capital investment but give stable returns over a very long time, this suits pension schemes perfectly as they have significant capital and seek investments that will provide stable returns over a long period which means secure jobs, which will be held by unison members will be created.  Basic economics tell us that for every £1 of net pay we generate a further £2.08 of re spend thus boosting the local economies.

As probation staff we see all too frequently the problems that families face when they are unable to have safe secure homes and our comrades in the NHS will be quick to point out that one of the key factors to health is being able to maintain a home above 18 degrees”

Privatised probation programme ‘could be dropped with negligible impact’

A joint report by the chief inspectors of probation and prisons says staff are focused on paperwork and targets at the expense of prisoners

image of a prison cell being opened as a prisoner looks out his window
‘The whole transition is often fraught’, said Dame Glenys Stacey and Peter Clarke. Photograph: Paul Faith/PA

A key part of the government’s probation privatisation reforms could be dropped tomorrow without any impact on the resettlement of prisoners, a joint report by the chief inspectors of probation and prisons has warned.

In what critics dubbed a “devastating report on a growing scandal” Dame Glenys Stacey, the chief inspector of probation, and Peter Clarke, the chief inspector of prisons, say that the work done by the 21 community rehabilitation companies in the government’s Through the Gateprogramme is having a negligible impact on reducing prisoner reoffending rates, two years after its introduction.

The chief inspectors say that too many prisoners have been released not knowing where they would sleep that night, that in too many cases prisoners’ risk to the public had been inadequately assessed before release, and despite much talk about the use of mentors, they could find only one prisoner out of a sample of 98 who had been mentored.

“None of the early hopes for Through the Gate have been realised,” they said. “The gap between aspiration and reality is so great, that we wonder whether there is any prospect that these services will deliver the desired impact on rates of reoffending.”

The chief inspectors’ report was based on visits to nine prisons where Through the Gate services were delivered by seven different rehabilitation companies in England and Wales and a detailed examination of the cases of 98 long-term prisoners.

“The overall picture is bleak,” they conclude. “If Through the Gate services were removed tomorrow, in our view the impact on the resettlement of prisoners would be negligible.”

They said that CRC staff focused most of their efforts on producing written resettlement plans to meet contractual targets, while the needs of prisoners received much less attention.

 “Many have enduring problems including mental illness and addiction, and yet links between treatment in custody and in the community were not always easy. Indeed the whole transition is often fraught. Affordable accommodation is hard to source, and claims to state benefits take time to process, so some prisoners are released with nowhere to live, and like others, may face weeks without any income.”

The provision of post-release resettlement services was one of the key aims of the government’s Transforming Rehabilitation reforms which saw the part-privatisation of the probation service.

The inspectors say that while many CRCs have employed well-respected voluntary organisations to deliver resettlement services, their potential has not been realised as they have focused on completing delivery plans. The few examples of the promised innovation, they add, have been on a very small scale.

The performance of the CRCs raises questions about whether they will qualify for any payments under the payment-by-results mechanism in their contracts when the first reoffending data becomes available in October.

Frances Crook, of the Howard League for Penal Reform, described it as a “devastating report on a growing scandal” adding: “One of the first challenges for the new government is to sort out this mess.

“The break-up of the public probation service, with a large part of it handed to private companies, was supposed to turn lives around, reduce reoffending and make us all safer.
“Instead, successive inspection reports have shown that the risk to the public has increased, and now we learn that Through the Gate services are so useless that they could stop tomorrow and we would not notice the difference. People who are trying to lead crime-free lives are being let down,” she said.

Labour’s shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon, added that the report’s central conclusion pointed to “a complete failure of the Tories’ reckless part-privatisation of probation. Public safety is being put at risk because ex-offenders aren’t getting the support, supervision and rehabilitation they need,” he said.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We will take all necessary action to make sure the probation system is reducing reoffending and preventing future victims.

“We have undertaken an overarching review of probation, looking at the standards we set for providers and how we hold them to account. Additionally, we have made changes to how community rehabilitation companies are paid so they can focus on activities that will help cut crime.

“As part of part of the probation review, we have been looking at Through the Gate services and will be publishing our findings in due course.”

Cuba Solidarity Campaign

Cuba Solidarity Campaign
Cuba Update Special, 18 June 2017

US blockade is tightened by Trump

On Friday 16 June, President Trump set back Cuba-US relations and any prospect of ending the US blockade in the near future when he announced his new policy on Cuba.

It is clear that Trump succumbed to pressure from hardline pro-blockade politicians in Florida who have been lobbying to reverse Obama’s Cuba policy for the last two years.

By choosing to make the announcement in a Miami theatre named after a Bay of Pigs veteran, Trump will further antagonise relations between the two countries and undo much of the goodwill that US and Cuban diplomats have worked hard to build since diplomatic relations were re-established.

The announcement also flies in the face of US public opinion which according to a recent poll shows 65 per cent of citizens in support of improving relations with Cuba.

More importantly, it will be a huge disappointment to the people of Cuba who saw a glimmer of hope that the blockade may end when relations were re-established between the two countries in December 2014.

The aim of the blockade has always been to inflict economic hardship and suffering on the Cuban people to bring about a change in government and these measures are a continuation of this policy. Reducing the ability of US citizens to travel to the island and limiting the number of Cuban state companies that US businesses can work with is a blatant attempt to damage the Cuban economy and create unrest in the country with the ultimate aim of regime change.

Trump’s actions serve as a reminder to friends of Cuba that the blockade is far from over. In the forthcoming months it is critical that we maintain pressure on the United States’ government to continue on the path to normalise relations with Cuba, and ultimately to end its 55 year blockade against the island and illegal occupation of Guantánamo Bay.

What you can do

Please join the Cuba Solidarity Campaign today – Join today

If you are already a member please make a donation to support out work – Donate today

Keep informed by coming to the Urgent Public Meeting on Trump’s threat to Cuba, Latin America and US relations – on Monday 26 June, 7pm, at Unite, 128 Theobalds Road, London, WC1X 8TN. Find out more

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 North West Women – Women’s Word – April 2017


NWWRC – Womens Word – April 2017 – Final








GM Citizens Mayoral Election Assembly – 1 May 2017

Private companies could pull out of probation contracts over costs







The North West Probation and CAFCASS Branch AGM is to be held on Thursday, 9th of March 2017, 5.30 p.m. at  Gujerat Hindu Centre, South Meadow Lane, Preston PR1 8JN

Future of pay bargaining, NPS E3 and other members issues will be on the agenda – come and have your say.



Delicious vegetarian curries, sandwiches, cakes etc.

*Members on work duties who cannot attend please inform us and we will include you in the draw.

NHS March against Privatisation

Philip Hammond ought to dispel the economic myths that hold women back

There are two economic myths that fail the interests of women. The first is the fallacy that government budgets conform to “the household analogy”: that, as with family budgets, a state’s outgoings cannot exceed its income. The second is that “there is no money” for the services women use and need.

On the first, the public are told that cuts in spending and in some benefits, combined with rises in income from taxes will – just as with a household – balance the budget. Even though a single household’s budget is a) minuscule compared to that of a government; b) does not, like the government’s, impact on the wider economy; c) does not benefit from tax revenues (now, or in the foreseeable future); and d) is not backed by a powerful central bank. Despite all these obvious differences, government budgets are deemed analogous (by economists and politicians) to a household budget.

Read more

UNISON invite our members working in the Purple Futures CRCs to complete a short survey into workplace stress in the Purple Futures CRCs. The results will pave the way for a joint union campaign to reduce the pressure on members at work and to deliver health, safety and welfare in Purple Futures workplaces.  Purple Futures has agreed to staff completing the survey in work time. The survey is entirely anonymous and no member can be identified from their response. Completing the survey should take no more than 10-15 minutes.


All members are encouraged to take part in the survey in order to give UNISON the evidence we need to protect your health and safety at work. You can access the survey on line here:

Unison Member Meetings

Following on from our last communication Unison Members Meetings will be held as follows

Monday         13th February                        12:00 to 14:00           HLNY

Tuesday         14th February                        12:00 to 14:00           Leeds

Wednesday   15th February                        12:00 to 14:00           NLPC

Thursday       16th February                          12:00 to 14:00           Crewe


Staff will be able to join UNISON on the day and it is hoped that members can drop into the meetings during their lunch break to discuss

  • The future role of Pay and other negotiations
  • Stress Questionnaire
  • Workloads
  • The 2017/18 pay claim
  • Becoming a Shop Steward
  • Becoming a Health & Safety Representative
  • Acting as a local contact keeping notice boards up to date