‘Refugee lives do matter’

National delegate conference agrees to continue working to combat myths around migration

Tania, Gravesham - @SotonUNISON

UNISON will continue advocating evidence-based polices on migration, after delegates to the union’s annual conference overwhelming backed a motion on the issue this morning.

Introducing the motion on women, the refugee crisis and trafficking, for the national women’s committee, Jo Cardwell told the hall: “We have to be incredibly proud that our union was one of the first to back the convoy to Calais.”

But, she noted, “the poison in this debate is coming from the top in our society.” Media coverage “boosts the lie that it’s not the Tories that are threatening our National Health Service, but migrants.”

The reality, Ms Cardwell continued, was that without migrant workers, there would be no National Health Service.

Rena Wood for the NEC reminded delegates that the plight of the refugees is bound up in the “neoliberal world agenda” and we need to address such things, as well as offering practical solidarity.

Margaret Greer said that, setting aside the hate-filled headlines, “this is about human beings … and refugee lives do matter”.

Among a raft of actions, conference voted to instruct the executive to strengthen the union’s work advocating for evidence-based, human rights-centred policies around migration, which take account of the specific needs of women migrants and refugees.