UNISON women pass emergency motion on Gaza

Delegates condemn statement from Israel’s national security minister that the army must shoot anyone approaching the border, including women and children

Speakers to an emergency motion on Gas at UNISON's national women's conference

On the second day of UNISON’s women’s conference, delegates passed an emergency motion on solidarity with women in Gaza.

The motion calls on the union to condemn the recent statement made by Israeli national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir that the Israeli army must shoot anyone approaching the border, including women and children.

In a cabinet meeting earlier this week, he said: “We cannot have women and children getting close to the border … anyone who gets near must get a bullet”.

Tamsain Hussain Gul, speaking through tears as she introduced the motion, said: “Women are watching their children be killed, and then having to collect the pieces of their children’s bodies.”

Ms Hussain Gul’s speech received a standing ovation.

Speaking in support of the motion, NEC member Jordan Rivera said: “We have 180 women in Gaza giving birth every day and there is no pain relief. Women are giving birth with no medical care. Our hearts break for women losing their children. Over 10,000 children have died. This is completely unacceptable.”

Rakiya Suleiman, supporting the motion on behalf of UNISON Scotland, said: “This is what makes me part of this union. We are a platform of equality. We must do what is right.”

UNISON women's conference delegates hold Palestinian flags and signs reading 'ceasefire now'

Conference delegates held Palestinian flags and signs reading ‘ceasefire now’

The emergency motion calls on the national women’s committee to:

  1. Ask the NEC to condemn the statement made by the Israeli national security minister on 12 February 2024
  2. Work with the international committee to provide solidarity with women who are on the frontline in demanding trade union rights, peace and social justice in Gaza
  3. Work with the NEC and other self-organised groups to show solidarity with women and children adversely affected by conflict in Gaza and explore the ways to help them fight oppression and discrimination.
  4. Lobby the future government through Labour Link to ensure all humanitarian aid arrives “at the place most needed”.