International Relations Officer

My name is Julie Fenton and I am Unison Norwich City Branch’s International Relations Officer (BIRO !), and also a Neighbourhood Housing Officer.  I have been doing this for a few months now and find it fascinating and very rewarding to be involved in the amazing work which is carried out by Unison all over the world.

UNISON supports the development of workers rights wherever the help and support is needed.  In some countries people are imprisoned or killed for belonging to or running a union. 

I became a BIRO as a result of attending last years Unison National delegates and Local Govt conferences in Brighton.  After hearing some of the stories behind the motions being brought by various branches and the following discussions, I wanted to find out more.  I have long had an interest in the developing world and the work of organisations such as Amnesty and Oxfam, I have worked for Oxfam in the past.

I will be reporting on the many issues faced by people the world over in our new web page, a different issue each month.  I attend a BIRO weekend twice a year and receive updates from the organisations that our branch in Norwich is affiliated to, including Amnesty.  Following the most recent seminar in Manchester two weeks ago I am looking at developing a virtual twinning arrangement with our branch and unions in Germany, I hope for many members to be involved in future contact – regular e-mails etc.  I am also developing an existing idea for a practical, supportive twinning arrangement with unions in Malawi, Africa.