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Arms fair latest: Unite union will make no more ACC bookings and ‘fully supports’ protests

Protests continue this weekend against Liverpool City Council’s decision to allow a weapons fair to take place at its wholly-owner ACC conference centre, after the Council failed to respond to a letter sent by lawyers on behalf of a resident pointing out its legal power and responsibility to act.

Now the executive of giant union Unite has thrown its weight behind the protests, which it says it ‘fully supports’.

In a statement released today, Unite said that while it investigated the possibility of cancelling its conference at the venue but was unable to do so as it had been paid for in full 18 months ago under a contract with heavy cancellation penalties, it would make no further bookings without ‘prior consultation’ with the people of Liverpool.

The union noted that some of its members work in the defence industry and they have its backing, but that the UK government is responsible for the misuse and abuse of UK-made weapons by other states.

Protests against the event have featured representatives of Palestinian and Yemeni communities who have suffered under British-made and sold weapons in the hands of the Israeli and Saudi governments.

A further protest takes place at 12.30pm on Saturday, starting from Liverpool Town Hall on Dale Street.

Unite’s statement may not please it’s new general secretary, who has said she wants to keep the union out of politics and focus only on the workplace.

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19 comments

  1. Unite also fully supports Boots the Chemists (Tort Party donors) with a loyalty card that knocks money off purchases for union members. The more you buy from Boots (Tory Party donors) the happier everyone is.

    1. Boots is in serious debt, is owners by an American company that paid itself a £488m dividend this year. Sounds familiar to football fans I’m sure.

  2. That Unite Loyalty Card, puzzled the hell out of me.

    Many of the businesses that support it, would be some of the last places to get my custom.

    I declined Unites offer, although they did send me twenty quid, out of the blue, about a month ago, so, I matched it to M&S, bought some clothes with twenty quid off.

    That’s me, until next year.

  3. I believe Skwawkbox, maybe misrepresenting the newly elected Unite General Secretary. Any factual evidence, that Sharon Graham spoke against the decision taken by Unite EC no to hire this hall again?
    I know for a fact that Sharon Graham fully supported the resolution on Palestine recently passed at Conference.
    Sharon expressed wishes to keep Unite out of Labour Party politics, has nothing to do with speaking against the Arms Fair in Liverpool.
    This isn’t a Labour Party issue but rather an ethical and moral issue and until proven wrong with factual proof, I will not believe that Sharon Graham was opposed to the stand against the Arms Fair taken by Unite Executive Commitee.

  4. Will Liverpool be allowed to make a decision to cancel this exhibition by their government appointed commissioners who report to Michael Gove?
    I have my doubts.

    1. If that’s the same Michael Gove who runs the secretive governmental “Clearing House” which makes public interest decisions behind closed doors, in what they call a ‘safe space’, away from the ‘chilling effect’ of outside interference and justified by the need for ‘free and frank’ discussions, what the hell does it matter?

  5. What a great principled stand from Unite, what a shame it couldn’t cancel its upcoming conference.

    I totally disagree with United’s new General Secretary to keep the union out of politics!

    Politics affects everything in life from birth to death, including the companies allowed to trade, where you might live, how you get work, even what you might earn, etc.

    1. There is nothing to stop Unite from cancelling apart from how much it would cost them. The same dilemma that LCC is facing.

    2. Richard
      Totally agree. As a lifelong trade unionist I can see little point in being a member of a Trade Union which is non political.

      1. Yes Smartboy. Being a trade unionist itself is political.

  6. If Unite paid in full 18 months ago for its conference at ACC it does not make sense to say that the Union would incur heavy penalties if it cancelled now. All Unite would lose would be the cost of hiring the ACC probably around £15,000. Unite may have difficulty getting another venue in Liverpool and may have blocked booked hotels and guest houses for delegates and these may be some of the reasons they are unwilling to cancel or go elsewhere.
    If that is the case then they would be better being up front about it instead of making lame excuses for holding a Union conference in a totally unsuitable venue which is hosting an arms fair.

    1. You comment makes a lot of sense Smartboy.

      (And I think your name is appropriate too.)

  7. Way off subject, but this may interest many of you.

    Jewish Labour and Momentum clash over stance on EHRC changes at conference
    The Jewish Labour Movement has demanded to know why Momentum urged delegates at the annual Labour Party conference to vote against rule changes mandated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
    In a letter sent today to Momentum co-chairs Gaya Sriskanthan and Andrew Scattergood, JLM chair Mike Katz and secretary Adam Langleben said they were “dismayed” that the group had recommended that delegates vote against the reforms.
    JLM said the decision “utterly undermines any claim Momentum may make about wanting to tackle antisemitism” and asked the Momentum co-chairs to explain the move. They put the following questions to Sriskanthan and Scattergood:…………..

    https://labourlist.org/2021/10/jewish-labour-and-momentum-clash-over-stance-on-ehrc-changes-at-conference/

    1. EHRC didn’t mandate that all power should be ultimately in the hands of the gen sec.
      How many times does Starmer have to break EHRC recommendations before some disciplinary action is taken against him. He’s undermined just about every independent process going.

    1. Toffee
      It seems JLM have been rather busy over the last few days or so. Complaining about Momentum decision to recommend not to vote for changes. Were the EHRC adoption included in the other rule changes. If so it sounds like JLM are cherry picking to have a go at Momentum.

      JLM are now asking why the organisers of the 85th Cable Street celebration. They want to know why they weren’t invited. No invitation was needed they could have organised there own.

      I would also suspect they’d try to dictate who would be allowed to go. Proven by complaining why others like Corbyn were on a stage with a LP nember suspended for allegations against him.

  8. Reply to Backof beyond
    The JLM with their constant complaining, dictating , smearing and looking for things to be offended about does a great disservice to Jewish people the vast majority of whom are not like that at all
    People need to realise that the JLM is a vocal pro Israeli organisation that condones Apartheid and human rights abuses in Israel and if they are offended because they did not receive a special invitation to the Cable St event maybe they should try a little introspection and look to their own behaviour and ask themselves why this might be.
    JLM is not a Left/ Socialist group so it is natural that they would oppose Momentum . However what Momentum does is a matter for Momentum and really none of JLM’s concern. JLM should take this on board and not interfere in the business of Momentum or anybody else.

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