Cuba May Day Brigade

Members of the brigade visit a hospital where they hold a UNISON flag with a doctor

21 April – 3 May 2024


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UNISON Eastern is sending two young members on the 2023 May Day Brigade to Cuba.

This is a unique opportunity to experience the gains of the Cuban revolution first hand, meeting ordinary Cubans in their workplaces, communities and trade unions. The two Eastern young members will take part in the UNISON delegation, joining delegates from other British unions.

What’s it about?

During the brigade participants will:

  • Attend the spectacular May Day Rally in Plaza de la Revolución, Havana,
  • Participate in the International Solidarity Conference in Cuba’s Parliament (Conventions Palace),
  • Meet the CTC (Cuban TUC) and solidarity activists from around the world,
  • Gain valuable insight into the achievements of the Cuban revolution and contemporary Cuban society,
  • Examine the challenges facing the island and witness firsthand the problems caused by the US blockade,
  • Meet and discuss current issues with Cuban workers with visits to hospitals, schools, workplaces and neighbourhoods,
  • Three day visit to another part of the country, with a continued full programme including volunteer work and visits to a local hospital,
  • Contribute to the agricultural and productive development of the country through voluntary work sessions,
  • Visit political and cultural sites.

You can read what last year’s delegates thought of it here.

Do I qualify for a place?

To apply for a place you must be

  • A member of UNISON in the Eastern region,
  • Aged 30 or under on 4 May 2024 (this is because the funding is for a UNISON young member which is defined as 30 or under),
  • Available from 21 April to 3 May inclusive and have booked annual leave with your employer for this period before submitting your application,
  • Able to attend the UNISON regional council to make a presentation about your experiences in Cuba,
  • Active with the regions young members committee or within your branch committee.

UNISON Eastern’s finance, development and organisation committee has agreed to fully fund two places, but if you are from a branch with general reserves of more than £12 per member, your branch will be expected to pay for half the cost — half of an estimated at £1,999 plus travel to/from the airport.

We advise you to speak to your branch as soon as possible to confirm the funding will be agreed and any internal processes can be followed. Please speak to your branch secretary before applying to confirm your branch will pay. Contact John Lawrence for more information.

Apply now!

Please fill in this form no later than 1pm on 1 December.

  • If you’re not sure what branch you’re in, please check UNISON’s branch finder.
    UNISON will pay for flights, accommodation (dormitory style on the brigade camp, shared hotel room for excursions), three meals a day, internal transport in Cuba, visas, entrance costs at museums/historical sites, a full programme of activities, preparation pack and advance briefing, and brigade T-shirt. UNISON will also pay for UK travel between home and airport. However you will need to pay for some optional items yourself.
  • Max 500 words. Please make sure you include the following:
    -Details of your trade union/activist experience and any positions / roles that you have held in UNISON
    -Why you wish to attend the 2023 Cuba May Day Brigade
    -How you will use the experience to further your role as an activist/trade unionist and how you will cascade any learning from your attendance.