UNISON’s national delegate conference condemned the brutal murder of Lee Rigby, a serving soldier, in Woolwich on 22 May. An event that Margaret Greer from Hammersmith and Fulham described as “shocking and horrific,” and that had “left the nation numb with bewilderment”.
Delegates paid tribute to the family of Mr Rigby who have appealed for no reprisal attacks to take place in his name and to the many people that attempted to intervene before the emergency services arrived.
James Anthony of the NEC voiced concern at increasing attacks on Muslim people in the following weeks. Mr Anthony, a nurse who had worked alongside military personnel and cared for them at his hospital, condemned the “fascist and racist organisations like the EDL and their Welsh and Scottish counterparts that had whipped up hate on the back of this tragic murder.”
In the days that followed the EDL and the BNP tried to capitalise on the outrage, Barry Walden reported that “attacks on Muslim people have increased 15 fold” but UNISON will “stand shoulder to shoulder with Muslim people” over the attacks, he said.
They voted to organise a high-profile anti-racism campaign, working with organisations such as Hope not Hate, Unite against Fascism and other trade unions to organise either on the streets or electorally as well as opposing any new measures aimed at reducing our democratic rights, such as the security forces gaining the right to read emails and texts.