TUC links up with Japanese unions to retire nuclear weapons

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date: 7 August 2009

embargo: 00.01hrs Sunday 9 August 2009

As the world marks the 64th anniversary of the use of Atom Bombs on Japan - Hiroshima (6 August 1945) and Nagasaki (9 August 1945) - the TUC is today (Sunday) linking up with Japanese unions to ask UK workers to sign a global petition asking the UN to abolish nuclear weapons. The TUC is also calling on mayors across the UK to join Mayors for Peace.

The global campaign 'No to nuclear weapons!' aims to put pressure on world leaders ahead of UN Non-Proliferation Treaty discussions in New York in May 2010, when the global trade union petition will be handed over to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The petition is being run by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Mayors for Peace. UK unions will be asked to approach local mayors to ask them to join the campaign.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Nuclear weapons pose a huge threat to the human race and are morally unacceptable. They are a greater risk than any problem they seek to solve.

'Conflicts often have their roots in poverty and inequality, and unions want social justice not weapons to be the solution. Next year nuclear weapons will be 65, it's time to retire them.'

President of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO) and vice president of ITUC, Tsuyoshi Takagi said: 'Success in achieving global disarmament including abolition of nuclear weapons would free up resources for urgent economic and social needs, to help the global economy pull out of the deep worldwide recession which is costing millions of jobs.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- In the world today there are almost 24,000 nuclear weapons. Together these arsenals have the destructive power to cause devastation equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima bombs, where just one bomb killed more than 140,000 people. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is a vital instrument for achieving disarmament and the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

- The petition can be found on the campaign website http://www.ituc-csi.org/peace

- Mayors for Peace, now with over 3000 city members in 134 countries, works to build solidarity and facilitate coordination among cities that support the Program to Promote the Solidarity of Cities toward the Total Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. Its primary goal is to work internationally to raise awareness of the need for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

- The ITUC represents 170 million workers in 312 affiliated national organisations from 157 countries.

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

- Congress 2009 will be held at the BT Convention Centre, Liverpool from Monday 14 September to Thursday 17 September. All applications for media passes must be received no later than noon Monday 7 September. Any applications received after this date will be processed in Liverpool and subject to a £50 administration fee. The form for media credentials, plus information on how to book wireless internet access and a phone line at the BT Convention Centre can be accessed at www.tuc.org.uk/mediacredentials

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Elly Brenchley T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: ebrenchley@tuc.org.uk

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