Season’s greetings from ToUChstone
We’d like to wish a very happy Christmas and New Year to all our readers here at ToUChstone blog. It’s been an interesting year for us as the blog has grown and diversified, and we’ve enjoyed sharing our blogging journey with so many people, old acquaintances and new.
Our Christmas card this year marks thirty years of the Amnesty International (UK) trade union network. During 2009, we’ve taken steps to strengthen the links between the work of the TUC and Amnesty. Unions and human rights go way back though. Indeed Amnesty International founder, Peter Benenson, had actually worked many years earlier for the TUC, and had been sent to Spain in the early 50s to observe the trial of some trade unionists persecuted by the Franco Government. (His complaints to the judge were so effective the case against them was, unusually, dismissed and they were set free.)
And sadly, there is no shortage of issues where we need to collaborate to defend people’s rights. Currently it’s on campaigns about the repression of trade unionists in Iran, LGBT rights around the world, and the terrible situation facing unionists in Colombia, where just being involved in trade unions exposes people to arbitrary arrest, harassment and even murder.
Some people wonder whether trade union rights are human rights at all, but they are – the core labour standards of the UN International Labour Organisation include freedom from forced and child labour, freedom from discrimination at work and freedom of association and the right to free collective bargaining. These are fundamental human rights, as the Declaration of Philadelphia made clear in 1944.
If you’ve a spare few minutes, please use them make a difference this Christmas by visiting the Amnesty website’s union section, where you can take part in campaign actions supporting some of our colleagues in Iran and Zimbabwe.
So here’s wishing everyone at home and abroad a well-earned break and a peaceful, prosperous and safe new year.