Category Archives: Palestinian Labor

Les luttes de la classe ouvrière palestinienne et le mouvement mondial de solidarité pour la Palestine

fsm_logo_frLes luttes de la classe ouvrière palestinienne et le mouvement mondial de solidarité pour la Palestine / The struggles of the palestinian working class and the global solidarity movement for Palestine / Las luchas de la clase trabajadora palestina y el movimiento de solidaridad global para Palestina

Atelier de discussion

Avec / with / con :
PALESTINIAN GENERAL FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (PGFTU)
PALESTINIAN POSTAL SERVICES WORKERS UNION (PPSWU)
PALESTINE NEW FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (PNFTU)

Avec l’appui / with the support of / con el apoyo de :
ELA (Pais Vasco), CIG (Galicia), CSN (Québec), CUT (Brasil), CGIL (Italia), STTP/CUPW (Canada), USS (France)

L’atelier mettra l’accent sur les conditions de travail et de vie de la classe des travailleuses et travailleurs palestiniens, la lutte pour la justice sociale, le travail décent, les réalités particulières du travail syndical sous un régime d’occupation, les défis du mouvement ouvrier et la lutte politique pour la libération de la Palestine. Ensuite, la discussion sera ouverte sur la façon dont les syndicats et les organisations à l’extérieur de la Palestine peuvent agir en solidarité avec les travailleuses et travailleurs palestiniens.

The workshop will focus on the conditions of the Palestinian working class, the struggle for social justice, decent work, the particular realities of the union work under an occupation regime, the challenges of the Labor movement and the political struggle for the liberation of Palestine. The discussion will then open on how unions and organizations outside Palestine can act in solidarity with the Palestinian Workers.

El taller se centrará en las condiciones de trabajo y de vida de la clase trabajadora palestina, la lucha por la justicia social, el trabajo decente, las realidades particulares del trabajo sindical bajo un régimen de ocupación, los retos del movimiento obrero y la lucha política por la liberación de Palestina. A continuación, la discusión se abrirá en cómo los sindicatos y organismos fuera de Palestina pueden actuar en solidaridad con los trabajadores palestinos.

Intervenants

À venir, PALESTINIAN GENERAL FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (PGFTU)
À venir, PALESTINIAN POSTAL SERVICES WORKERS UNION (PPSWU)
Jamal Juma, PALESTINE NEW FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (PNFTU)

Atelier de discussion
Activité à confirmer
Date et heure à déterminer
Emplacement à déterminer
Langue(s) principale(s) de l’activité

Français, Anglais, Espagnol, Arabe

Traduction simultannée

Français, Anglais, Espagnol

Publics cibles

Général, Jeunes (13 à 17 ans), Jeunes (18 à 35 ans), Aînés, Femmes, Travailleurs et travailleuses, Personnes en situation de handicap, Autochtones, LGBT, Personnes racisées, Personnes en situation précaire

Activité étendue sur internet

non

Dernière modification
20 June 2016
Les luttes de la classe ouvrière palestinienne et le mouvement mondial de solidarité pour la Palestine / The struggles of the palestinian working class and the global solidarity movement for Palestine / Las luchas de la clase trabajadora palestina y el movimiento de solidaridad global para Palestina
Organisation responsable de l’activité

Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)

Administrateurs

Nathalie Guay

Thème

Décolonisation et autodétermination des peuples

Objectifs

Informer / Sensibiliser
Débattre / délibérer / discuter
Proposer / Développer des alternatives
Converger pour l’action / décider
Développer des partenariats / Constituer des alliances

Emad Khalil’s story as a Gazan worker in Israel (Mondoweiss)

Mondoweiss

Emad Khalil’s story as a Gazan worker in Israel

on

Skin tanned and hands calloused from working forty-two years under the sun, Emad Khalil, a sixty-one year old retired laborer, sits in front of me. For thirty of those years, he worked in Israel. His story documents a tremendous change in attitude and policy towards Palestinian freedom of movement, employment opportunities, healthcare, and relations between Palestinians and Israelis.

After Egypt lost control of Gaza following the 1967 war, work opportunities in the latter were limited by poor infrastructure and a collapsing economy. The closest opportunity for work was in Israel, as it was prior to the First Intifada; only then, unlike now, ports and crossings did not restrict movement. Emad describes:

“I started working at the age of sixteen as a builder’s assistant. Work was available for everybody back then. You just registered at the work office and either they called you or you checked every couple of days. You would most likely have a job in building or farming. You gave them your ID and they did the rest. They would contact your company for the legal work and get your health insurance in case any medical assistance was needed.”

Emad worked for an Israeli company under an Arab Jewish supervisor. Poverty, lack of education, and inadequate infrastructure strategically paved the way for Palestinian labour demand across the border. Most of the employees were Palestinians of similar socio-economic background. Like Emad, they were illiterate. Education was considered unimportant compared to more immediate financial concerns. Few went to university though workers were encouraged and even rewarded for learning Hebrew.

Emad describes a forgotten period where Palestinians and Israelis, in the wake of growing prosperity, recognized their similarities, and even socially engaged outside the workplace. His relationship with his first boss was such that he attended Emad’s brother’s wedding.

“For once I thought that we could live in peace and a better economy,” Emad reflected. “People coexisted somehow. The politicians, however, did not like that.”

Emad worked for his first boss for five years. In 1976, the business was sold and Emad picked up work where he could. For a short period of time, he worked as a fruit picker for a farm that had Arabic inscription at the entrance. When he told his father and uncle about this peculiarity, they informed him that the farm had originally belonged to his great grandfather. Such experiences were not uncommon.

Life after the Paris Protocol

During the First Intifada in 1987, a large-scale boycott campaign began in response to clashes between Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank. The impact of the Boycott was dampened by the collapsing economy in Gaza. Workers grew reluctant to leave Israel.

The changes imposed on the Palestinian economy by the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations, an agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) in 1994 and included in the Oslo II Accord in September 1995, led to irrevocable decline in Gaza. The protocol included Israeli regulation of customs, value-added taxes, purchase taxes, integration of the Palestinian and Israeli economies, and the besiegement of Gaza’s borders. Palestinian workers were no longer able to cross the borders without being subjected to manual checks by armed border patrol officers and long waits at checkpoints. A journey that had taken Emad thirty minutes became an unpredictable wait of up to eight hours. Exhausted and demoralised workers began to lose work as the relations between the workers and their Israeli employers deteriorated.

The changes imposed by the Paris Protocol led to an approximate36.1 % decline in economic output from Gaza between 1992 and 1996. Workers faced increasing levels of unemployment, returning to Gaza with few job prospects.

Robbed of sight

Despite the difficulties in obtaining a job and the barriers imposed by checkpoints, Emad continued to work in Israel until 2000 when his thirty-year career came to a devastating end.

“I was on a construction site in the late winter of 2000. We were building a wedding hall near Jerusalem. My job was to nail the wooden boards in order for the other workers to use them. The nail gun was malfunctioning , so I had to do it manually with a hammer. The rain from the night before had wet the boards, which weakened them. I picked up a nail, grabbed the hammer and hit it, but the nail was too thin and snapped. The fine tip of the nail flipped into my eye and suddenly everything turned dark. I started shouting to the others. One worker heard me shouting and saw blood coming from my eye. He called an ambulance and escorted me to the hospital.”

Upon arrival to the hospital, Emad was required to show his identification card to check he had adequate medical insurance prior to treatment. He was then taken for surgery to remove the nail from his eye. Sadly, the operation was unsuccessful and Emad lost the majority of his sight in that eye. He was told that he needed to schedule another operation but could go home in the interim. He called the work office to arrange the surgery through his employer, who was legally responsible for the provision of his health insurance.

“The employer avoided covering my surgery because the costs were too high, so I had to call a lawyer and file a case to get my rights. I could only attend the first court session as I was deemed a security risk and subsequently denied permission to travel to Israel. I worked in Israel for thirty years and suddenly my life was made insecure. Now I am in Gaza, jobless, blind and denied medical treatment.”

The lack of access to the medical care, to which he was entitled, has left Emad permanently disabled, unemployed and unable to afford university tuition fees for his four children. Denying him permission to attend court in Israel was in direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human rights (article 13) which states the right of freedom of movement within states.

The human rights group B’Tselem also argues that the restrictions on ill, wounded and pregnant Palestinians seeking acute medical care is in contravention of international law which states that medical professionals and medical patients must be granted open passage.

A future towards permanent disengagement?

Since the imposition of the Israeli siege on Gaza in 2007, there have been three major assaults and numerous smaller indiscriminate attacks, with the last in 2014 claiming the lives of over 2,250 Palestinians and displacing over 500,000. According to a United Nations report in 2015, it is predicted that with the on-going economic crisis, Gaza may be uninhabitable by 2020. Israel’s long term strategy for permanent disengagement from Gaza seems entirely plausible given the growing trends of economic restrictions, cyclical warfare, and severe cuts on fuel provisions and infrastructure. Emad Khalil’s story is a sample of history in which, outside the domain of political maneuvering, there may have been an alternative road of shared social and economic prosperity for Palestinian and Israeli citizens.

About Mohammed Saleem

Mohammed Saleem is a Palestinian writer living in Gaza.

Other posts by .

– See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/06/khalils-worker-israel/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=3e40a65923-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-3e40a65923-398519677&mc_cid=3e40a65923&mc_eid=fe7405a730#sthash.uYrBs0rh.dpuf

21 Palestinian journalists in Israeli prisons (Electronic Intifada)

Electronic Intifada

21 Palestinian journalists in Israeli prisons

Journalists

Palestinian journalists hold signs demanding freedom for detained colleague Samah Dweik, at a protest calling on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners, in Gaza City, on 5 June.

Mohammed AsadAPA images

The number of Palestinian journalists in Israeli prisons has risen to 21. This includes eight media workers arrested since the start of this year, prisoners rights group Addameer said on Monday.

Among them are Addameer’s own media coordinator Hassan Safadi and Omar Nazzal, a member of the general secretariat of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.

Safadi was detained in May as he returned from an international conference in Tunisia, while Nazzal was detained in April as he was en route to a meeting of the European Federation of Journalists.

Both are among more than 700 persons in administrative detention, Israel’s British-colonial-era practice of imprisoning Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial.

Addameer says journalists “are being targeted due to their efforts to document Israeli violations, including its practices of land confiscation, house demolitions and movement restrictions on the Palestinian population.”

According to Addameer, the detained journalists are from a range of backgrounds and outlets. They also include Al-Quds University media studies students Amir Abu Hleil and Muhammad Atta, and Birzeit University lecturer Nasser Khaseb.

Among them too are Samah Dweik, who was one of the few journalists closely following the case of Palestinian schoolgirl Marah Bakir, imprisoned for allegedly stabbing an Israeli soldier.

Dweik, held in a prison where Israel has traditionally kept female political prisoners, is accused of “incitement,” a charge Israel frequently levels against Palestinian journalists and social media users.

In addition to Addameer’s own media coordinator, Israel has also jailed, since 2011, Salah Addin Awwad, the director of media for the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

Ongoing crackdown

In March, Israeli occupation forces launched a harsher crackdown on Palestinian journalists, after the government blamed media for inciting the upsurge in confrontations between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinians that began last October.

Israeli forces have physically assaulted and pepper sprayed journalists documenting their actions, abuses that have sometimes been captured on video.

An Israeli raid that shut down the Palestine Today TV station in Ramallah in March prompted sharp condemnation from the International Federation of Journalists.

“We cannot tolerate these continuous attacks from Israeli authorities to muzzle Palestinian press,” the group’s president Jim Boumelha said.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate appealed to the Newseum not to host Avital Leibovich, the Israeli military officer and spokesperson involved in the intentional killings of Palestinian journalists.

But the Washington, DC, institution that purports to uphold media freedoms rejected that call for solidarity, prompting protests and interruptions during Leibovich’s presentation.

Gaza laborers suffer few rights, little pay (Electronic Intifada)

Electronic Intifada

Gaza laborers suffer few rights, little pay

Gaza Workers

Gaza construction workers can barely scrape by after nearly a decade of Israeli blockade.

Ashraf AmraAPA images

Hani Abu Talal is a man on a mission.

The 34-year-old laborer spends his days pounding the streets of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip for any new construction projects to which he might lend his body and time.

His is the lot of a day laborer. His luck lies in the hands of the rare on-site foreman with something to offer. His mission is near impossible. This is Gaza: it has the world’s highest unemployment rate.

“Landing a job happens only once in a blue moon,” Abu Talal said. “I just look for any chance to get some work and make some money.”

The odd day’s work also does not guarantee respite from grinding poverty. A father of five, Abu Talal says he is lucky if a full day’s hard physical labor earns him more than 30 shekels (just under $8).

“Construction is hard work,” Abu Talal told The Electronic Intifada. “But instead of being fairly paid, we are blackmailed; we are told that wages cannot be higher because of the lack of stability in the local economy.”

From time to time, Israel allows through a shipment of construction materials, causing a mini-spike in activity. But the wages remain the same, and Abu Talal worries that should a situation ever arise where construction enjoys a sustained boom, employers will simply keep wages low.

“If any worker dares to ask for an increase, he can be fired. So we continue to work without complaint. But that does not mean to leave us alone. We have rights. We need them respected.”

Wages besieged

What few shekels Abu Talal makes at the end of a day are barely sufficient to pay the owner of his local grocery store from where his family get their essentials. As for the future? There are no savings. There is only constant, nagging fear, he said, that one of his children should one day need urgent medical care.

Awad Baker is a contractor and one of those from whom Abu Talal would seek work. Most of his construction projects are in the central Gaza Strip, the same area where Abu Talal ekes out his living. He lays the blame for low wages and the lack of job opportunities squarely on the economic blockade that Israel has imposed on Gaza since 2007.

“We have sustained so many losses due to the siege that we are all heavily in debt,” Baker told The Electronic Intifada. “These have to be repaid.”

Where construction materials are rare, they become more expensive. The balance is borne by labor. Contractors rely heavily on cheap, unskilled labor, which in turn affects quality. And the longer that continues, the less skilled the workers, said Baker.

After nearly 10 years under siege, Baker added, “our workers’ skills have plummeted to the extent that it affects the quality of our work. Our sector is devastated.”

The combination of the blockade and successive Israeli military assaults saw construction output in 2014, year of the last major Israeli offensive, fall by a staggering 83 percent, according to the World Bank.

Government failures

Economist Maher al-Tabaa, head of Gaza’s Chamber of Commerce, put it in stark terms: “When we have a very restricted number of jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers, wages decrease. The blockade has denied the local economy access to many jobs and options are limited for our workers.”

With this oversupply of labor, al-Tabaa said, workers are more likely to accept work that doesn’t pay a fair wage.

But Sami al-Amasi, head of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza, says the siege is not the only factor responsible for the desperate situation of local workers.

He also fingered the policies of the now defunct Palestinian unity government which, he said, early in its tenure in 2014, canceled training and employment programs that could have helped people back to work.

The unity government was formed after an agreement between Hamas and Fatah in June 2014, but was beset by mutual suspicions from the start. A year later, it resigned, and since then Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader, has twice unilaterally reshuffled the cabinet. Though Hamas rejected both reshuffles, the government is still called a consensus government.

Temporary employment and professional training programs had in the past helped mitigate the unemployment crisis, al-Amasi said, and were intended to serve workers in all sectors, including construction.

Their cancellation, he said, marked not only a failure of policy — which continues under the present Palestinian Authority administration — but also showed a “disregard” for Gaza and its population.

Al-Amasi also said there had been a failure to implement existing laws on workers’ rights, citing legislation for a minimum monthly wage of 1,450 shekels (approximately $380).

Not just the money

Construction worker Adham Abdelrahman, 39, receives less than 800 shekels per month. He works a grueling 12-hour day on average. He also had no idea that the law set a minimum wage of almost twice the amount he earns.

“I have never been paid this much. What’s the point of laws if they are not implemented?”

He said he was skeptical that officials have his interests or rights at heart.

And pay is not the only issue facing construction workers. Safety regulations are rarely implemented, workers have no health insurance and they are unlikely to receive any compensation in case of on-site accidents.

Salem al-Bashiti, 44, suffered a workplace accident four years ago that left one arm partially paralyzed.

“I was lucky that my contractor was a kind man who helped me cover some of the costs of treatment. But I know many who were abandoned without even some words of consolation after their accidents,” he said.

He looks forward to a day, he said, when construction workers could enjoy not only rights enshrined in law and enforced on site, but more general recognition.

“We work hard to serve and build our country. We deserve to be honored and treated well,” he said.

Isra Saleh el-Namey is a journalist in Gaza.

Palestinian labour movement welcomes Fuecys union in Uruguay support for Israel boycott (Palestinian Trade Unions)

BNCPalestinian labour movement welcomes Fuecys union in Uruguay support for Israel boycott

 

The Palestinian labor movement welcomes the declaration from the Human Rights Secretariat of the Uruguayan Federation of Workers of Services and Commerce (Fuecys) calling for the boycott of Israeli products and for companies in Uruguay to break their ties with Israel’s apartheid. We salute this principled commitment and concrete initiative of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.

We also deeply appreciate the public support that the Trade Union Centre of G4S employees in Uruguay has extended to the campaign against the British security company G4S. The company has lost contracts worth millions of dollars in more than a dozen countries during the four-year long global campaign lead by the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement over its role in in Israeli prisons that hold Palestinian political prisoners, settlements and checkpoints.

We stand in solidarity with the Uruguayan G4S workers, whose labor rights are being violated by G4S and other international corporations.

We hope the whole of PIT-CNT, Uruguay’s Federation of Labor Unions, will decide to support the Palestinian appeal issued in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations, including all Palestinian parties and trade unions, to turn rhetoric solidarity into effective actions by joining the BDS movement.

Trade union support for BDS in Latin America and around the world is continuously growing. Fuecys and the whole of PIT-CNT should join important unions in the region that already support the BDS movement, such as CUT, CSP-Conlutas, and CTB, from Brazil, and CTA and CTA Autónoma, from Argentina.

From India to Sweden, South Africa and the United States, trade unions and workers have blocked Israeli ships from docking, dozens of trade unions and their confederations are actively pressuring corporations and governments to cut relations with Israel and join campaigns of boycotts, divestments and sanctions.

Trade unions that have already spoken out in opposition to the role that G4S plays in the oppression of Palestinians include Unite and Unison in the United Kigdom, Dutch union Abvakabo, Norwegian union Industri Energi and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

As COSATU already in 2006 stated: “Boycotts, disinvestments and sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa hastened our march to democracy. Why should it be different for Palestinians? In the face of an intransigent, arrogant, racist and brutal Israeli state, this strategy of isolation – particularly since the vast majority of Palestinians support it – should be applied to Israel as well. It is a peaceful option.”

In fact, the global movement that contributed to the end of apartheid in South Africa inspired the Palestinian movements and unions to call on people of conscience all over the world to apply non-violent pressure on Israel until it respects the international law and the Palestinian human rights.
The growing impact of the BDS movement is giving new hope to the Palestinian struggle, and and boycotts, divestment and sanctions have become fundamental elements of solidarity for all those that truly want to support the Palestinian cause.

From Palestine to Latin America, we are united against all forms of oppression and discrimination. Fellow workers in Uruguay, your effective solidarity with our struggle for freedom, justice and equality is more crucial today than ever!

Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) – Gaza Strip

Palestinian Federation of Independent Trade Unions

The Palestinian Federation of New Unions

General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW)

El movimiento obrero palestino celebra la declaración de la Secretaría de Derechos Humanos de la Federación Uruguaya de Empleados de Comercio y Servicios (FUECYS), la cual llama al boicot de productos israelíes y pide que empresas en Uruguay rompan sus lazos con el régimen de apartheid israelí. Saludamos este compromiso y esta iniciativa concreta de solidaridad con la lucha palestina por libertad, justicia y igualdad.

También apreciamos profundamente el apoyo público que el Centro Sindical de Trabajadores de G4S de Uruguay ha extendido a la campaña en contra de la compañía de seguridad británica G4S. La compañía ha perdido contratos de millones de dólares en más de una docena de países durante la campaña mundial de cuatro años del movimiento global de Boicot, Desinversión y Sanciones (BDS) como consecuencia de su papel en las cárceles israelíes que mantienen prisioneros/as políticos/as palestinos/as, en las colonias ilegales y en los puestos de control de Israel.

Manifestamos nuestra solidaridad con los trabajadores/as de G4S Uruguay, cuyos derechos laborales son violados por G4S y otras corporaciones internacionales.

Esperamos que la totalidad del PIT-CNT tomará la decisión de apoyar el llamamiento palestino hecho en 2005 por más de 170 organizaciones palestinas, incluyendo todos los partidos políticos y sindicatos palestinos, para convertir la solidaridad retórica en acciones efectivas al unirse al movimiento BDS.

El apoyo sindical al BDS en América Latina y en todo el mundo está en continuo crecimiento. FUECYS y el conjunto del PIT-CNT deben unirse a sindicatos importantes de la región que ya apoyan el movimiento BDS, como la CUT, CSP-Conlutas, y CTB, de Brasil, y la CTA y la CTA Autónoma, de Argentina.

De India a Suecia, de Sudáfrica a los Estados Unidos, sindicatos y trabajadores/as han impedido atracar a barcos israelíes en los puertos, decenas de sindicatos y sus confederaciones están presionando activamente a corporaciones y gobiernos para reducir las relaciones con Israel y unirse a las campañas de boicot, desinversiones y sanciones.

Los sindicatos que ya se han pronunciado en contra de la función que desempeña G4S en la opresión del pueblo palestino incluyen Unite y Unison en el Reino Unido, el sindicato holandés Abvakabo, el noruego Industri Energi y el Congreso de Sindicatos de Sudáfrica (COSATU).

Como COSATU ya en 2006 declaró: “Los boicots, desinversiones y sanciones contra el régimen del apartheid en Sudáfrica aceleraron nuestra marcha hacia la democracia. ¿Por qué debería ser diferente para los/as palestinos/as? Frente a un intransigente, prepotente, racista y brutal Estado israelí, esta estrategia de aislamiento – sobre todo porque la gran mayoría de los/as palestinos/as la apoya – se debe aplicar a Israel. Es una opción pacífica”.

De hecho, el movimiento global que contribuyó al fin del apartheid en Sudáfrica inspiró a los movimientos y sindicatos palestinos a pedir a las personas de conciencia de todo el mundo que apliquen presión no violenta en Israel hasta que éste respete el derecho internacional y los derechos humanos del pueblo palestino.

El creciente impacto del movimiento de BDS está dando una nueva esperanza a la lucha palestina, y los boicots, desinversiones y sanciones se han convertido en elementos fundamentales de la solidaridad para todos aquellos que realmente quieren apoyar la causa palestina.

Desde Palestina a Latinoamérica, estamos unidos contra todas las formas de opresión y discriminación. Compañeros/as trabajadores/as de Uruguay, hoy su solidaridad efectiva con nuestra lucha por libertad, justicia y igualdad es más importante que nunca!

Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) – Gaza Strip
Federación General de Sindicatos de Palestina – Franja de Gaza

Palestinian Federation of Independent Trade Unions
Federación Palestina de Sindicatos Independientes

The Palestinian Federation of New Unions
Federación Palestina de Nuevos Sindicatos

General Union of Palestinian Workers (GUPW)
Sindicato General de Trabajadores/as Palestinos/as

– See more at: https://bdsmovement.net/2016/palestinian-labour-movement-welcomes-fuecys-union-uruguay-support-israel-boycott-14128#sthash.CbgMUZqt.dpuf

May 1 message by the New Unions (PFNTU)

To workers every were in this world,

To all trade unions representing the workers and leading the workers struggle for their rights,

In this day, the day of labour struggle and internationalism of the working class against class oppression and exploitation and all forms of racism and racial discrimination, the Palestinian New Federation of Trade Unions (PNFTU) salutes all those workers and trade unions that are with us in the struggle for workers rights and against capitalism and neoliberalism. We wish your struggles success, so that we advance together towards a world of peace, justice and equality away from wars, colonialism and savage globalization and the increase of right wing governments and forces as well as austerity policies across the globe can be defeated.

The PNFTU has announced its official recognition as trade union federation in a labour conference on March 19 2016, in the presence of representatives of our grassroots base as well as those of Palestinian political parties and authorities and international supporters. We are proud that after 5 years of organizing and mobilizing of Palestinian workers, the PNFTU has been strengthened by official recognition in a moment of ongoing mobilization and strikes of the Palestinian working class.

Our efforts started in 2010 with a successful labor strike of 90 workers in a chemical factory in the settlement industrial zone in Tulkarem city, in the north of the West Bank. The strike lasted for six months before we were able to achieve our aims and saw our demands fulfilled. The failure of the then existing trade union federations to support the workers in their strike, was the main reason behind the decision of these workers to renew our labour movement and to establish new and independent unions.

Today the PNFTU is formed of 26 regional branches of different sector unions and represents more than ten thousand workers from different sectors of Palestinian economy, including construction workers, food industry workers, agricultural workers, textile workers, public service workers, secretarial and administrative workers, transportation workers, mechanics and employees of the tourist services. We are committed to the legacy of the Palestinian national and class struggle for justice, democracy and freedom and it is our mission to defend and achieve labour and national rights for the Palestinian working class, always upholding our principles of unity, class consciousness, democracy and independence.

Since the beginning of 2016, the Palestinian labour movement has been organizing growing mass protests to demand our rights. During January and February, the Palestinian teachers union has maintained unity in an almost two months long strike for decent salaries and benefits. We have been actively supporting their efforts and applaud their determination.

On April 19, some ten thousand people have marched through Ramallah to oppose the so-called ‘social security’ law. PNFTU is part of the national committee formed to coordinate and organize the struggle to stop this law and to protect our rights. If implemented as suggested, this law would put our pension fund savings at risk, legitimize Israeli theft of the union fees of Palestinian workers employed in Israeli business and discriminate against large sections of our society. The PNFTU, the left-wing parliamentary blocs and other independent trade unions, civil society institutions and human rights organizations, will continue to organize mass demonstrations against this law.

On this occasion we renew our commitment to our working class to continue the struggle for labour rights as much as for our national rights. We believe that the neoliberal policies implemented by the Palestinian authorities and the exploitation imposed by employers are not only violations of labour rights but directly undermine from within the capacity of the Palestinian society to remain steadfast against Israeli occupation and apartheid.

We thank all those unions and labour activists that throughout the decades have stood with our people in solidarity. We deeply appreciate your efforts and your commitment to internationalism and call upon you to continue to support our struggle for self-determination and the decolonization of Palestine. Today, that Israeli policies continue to hold Gaza under inhumane siege, the majority of our people is still dispersed as refugees unable to return to their homes, thousands are held in Israeli prisons, home demolitions and confiscations are intensified with the aim to cleanse 60% of the occupied West Bank from its Palestinian people, your solidarity is more important than ever.

We renew the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) until Israel respects international law and human rights. Over history, from Ireland to India, from South Africa to the United States – workers and citizens have proven that boycotts are among the most powerful and convincing tools people’s movements and solidarity actions can choose in front of intransigent and unbearable oppression. The BDS movement is today an integral part of the Palestinian national liberation struggle and has empowered international solidarity globally to achieve concrete and effective change.

Let us work together against all forms of oppression and exploitation,

Long live the May 1!

Executive committee of the Palestinian New Federation of Trade Unions,
1st of May, 2016

May Day 2016: Work under colonialism and the politics of solidarity in Palestine & USA

Wednesday, May 4 at 6 PM8:30 PM in PDT
San Franicsco State University LIB121

Solidarity Rising: Two More UAW Graduate Employee Units Endorse BDS!

Screenshot 2016-03-23 17.48.25Solidarity Rising: Two More UAW
Graduate Employee Units Endorse BDS!

 

Screenshot 2016-04-26 18.30.03Joint Statement GSOC-UAW 2110 and GEO-UAW 2322 are Latest Unions to Vote for Divestment
This past week the NYU Graduate Employee Union (GSOC-UAW 2110) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Graduate Employee Union (GEO-UAW 2322), both representing 2,000 members each, endorsed by full membership vote the call from all major Palestinian trade unions and civil society groups to impose Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. . . . In December 2014, the 14,000 student-worker union at the University of California (UAW Local 2865) system passed a similar resolution supporting BDS with 65% in favor.

 

JWJContext: America’s Labor Unions Are Increasingly Standing with Palestine (Alternet)
Following a well-attended panel hosted by Western Mass Labor for Palestine at the April 16 Jobs With Justice Conference in Springfield, MA, author Vijay Prashad extensively reviews the rise of Labor for Palestine and U.S. trade union support for BDS. Panelists included Prashad, LFP Co-Conveners Suzanne Adely and Michael Letwin, Carol Lambiase (United Electrical Workers), Bill Shortell (International Association of Machinists), and was moderated by WMLFP members Jordy Rosenberg and Ruth Jennison. Prashad’s article concludes by quoting Adely: “Ultimately, building labor solidarity with Palestine and with all anti-racist struggles is part of the fight to build a stronger, democratic union movement.”

 

delegation-birzeitLabor to Palestine: We Stand with Palestine in the Spirit of “Sumud”: The U.S. Prisoner, Labor and Academic Solidarity Delegation to Palestine
On April 16, the nineteen-member March 2016 delegation to Palestine, which included LFP Co-convener Jaime Veve and several other trade unionists, issued a powerful report stating, in part: “We join hands with our comrades in the Palestinian labor movement and salute the struggle of striking teachers, labor organizers and workers demanding economic justice, independence and national self-determination from colonial structures. We further pledge to campaign in the ranks of U.S. labor to divest from Israeli bonds and sever ties between the AFL-CIO and the Histadrut.” To host a local event with delegation members, contact palestine.prison.delegation16@gmail.com

 

socialsecstrike-maanLabor in Palestine: Mass Rally Against Approval of New “Social Security” Law (IMEMC)
Thousands of Palestinians, on Tuesday, demonstrated outside of a government building, in the occupied West Bank hub of Ramallah, against the Palestinian Authority’s approval of a new law many believe fails to provide adequate protection for workers. . . . Weeks earlier, a teachers’ strike brought the largest public demonstrations against the PA in years.

Analysis: Eric Lee: The Online Labour Solidarity Whiz who’s ‘Proud to be a Zionist’
In a new article, British BDS activists Peter Waterman discusses the hypocrisy of Zionist anti-BDS spokesperson Eric Lee, owner of the widely-read website, LabourStart.

Download: New Labor for Palestine Pamphlet
Key background documents from Labor for Palestine, prepared for 2016 Labor Notes conference.

Donate

Mass Rally Against Approval of New “Social Security” Law (IMEMC)

IMEMC

Mass Rally Against Approval of New “Social Security” Law

April 19, 2016 11:21 PM

socialsecstrike-maan

Thousands of Palestinians, on Tuesday, demonstrated outside of a government building, in the occupied West Bank hub of Ramallah, against the Palestinian Authority’s approval of a new law many believe fails to provide adequate protection for workers.

Social Security Act No. 6 was ratified by PA Cabinet members in February and approved by defacto Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the following month.

The law has since brought a downpour of criticism from critics who say it disadvantages those with disabilities, retirees, and private sector workers.

The organizers of Tuesday’s rally demanded that the new law be suspended until discussions were held on a national level, in order to address concerns that the law acts as a detriment to employee savings without guaranteeing security from the state.

Organizers said that, under the new social security system, “expected retirement income won’t be enough to enable retired employees and workers to live in dignity.”

While the PA was expected to begin implementation at the beginning of this month, a number of political parties in parliament, civic organizations, and trade unions reportedly opposed the law.

Palestinian union officials, in approving the draft law under pressure from employers, called upon them to rescind their endorsements, Ma’an News Agency additionally reported..

A leader of Palestinian Progressive Labor Union Front (PLUF), Mohammad Jawabra, earlier this month said the law “failed to prioritize the interests and needs of workers,” creating “a social security system that ensures workers with disabilities and retirees will live in poverty.”

PLUF also criticized union officials for allegedly approving the draft law under pressure from employers, and called upon them to rescind their endorsements.

Tuesday’s rally marked the most recent amid an apparent increase in public demonstration against the PA in recent months.

A large group demonstrated in Ramallah earlier this week demanding the PA release three Palestinians detained on suspicions of planning an attack against Israel.

Weeks earlier, a teachers’ strike brought the largest public demonstrations against the PA in years.

See: 02/17/16 22 Striking Teachers Detained by PA Security

Ten thousand mobilize in Ramallah to fight for social rights (Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign)

Today, a first mass demonstration against the social security law that has been issued by president Abu Mazen and is supposed to come into force on April 21 has shown an overwhelming opposition among the Palestinian population to the policies of the Palestinian National Authority. After the mobilization of the teachers union at the beginning of this year, this is the second time Palestinian masses are out on the streets against the policies of the PNA.

The Social Security Act No. 6 was ratified by PA Cabinet members in February and approved by President Mahmoud Abbas the following month. When the news about the new law and the details of it became public, a national committee composed of two Palestinian union confederations – the New Unions, the Independent Unions, the Palestinian Progressive Labour Union Front – and autonomous unions of private businesses as well as the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), has been formed in order to coordinate opposition to the law. The demand of today’s protest was an immediately freeze of the law.

The law would disadvantage those with disabilities, retirees, women and private sector workers. The minimum wage would be reduced to 726 NIS, retirement benefits reduced to 51% of the salary before retirement. Further, the law would allow the PNA to take over saving fund of Palestinian institutions and for a fund to be created, to which Israel supposedly should transfer the Palestinian workers dues it has collected since 1967. The National Committee against the Social Security Act n.6 argues that the takeover of the independent saving funds by the PNA will create insecurity for workers on the one hand, as the PNA is not a state and its stability is continuously at risk, and give the PNA a huge financial resource of billions of NIS without giving workers any guarantee about what the PNA will do with this fund.

Muhammad Bleidi, president of the New Unions Confederation explained:

“This law has been issued and decided upon without any consultation with the people affected by it. Abu Mazen and his cabinet have decided upon it when, legally speaking, it should be decided by the legislative council.

“It is only serving the interests of the business class and Israeli interests. We see it a capitalist project that is dismantling the Palestinian labour law. It further comes to legalize Israel’s and the Histadrut’s illegal appropriation of Palestinian workers dues.

“As the workers have not been included in the process, they will be the ones to be failed. We consider the workers rights, like the refugee rights, as inalienable rights. We will fight any law regarding our rights, in which we will not be consulted.

“We are struggling for social justice, and we are struggling for a social security law but this is not the law and not the way we will accept.”

The National Committee in opposition to the Social Security Act n.6 to freeze the law and to restart discussions that involve all parties in order to produce a consensus on such a law. Unfortunately, the PNA has rejected all those demands and insists on bringing the law into force on April 21. In response, the National Committee is preparing further mobilization and escalation of the protests.

This is the second major mass movement in the occupied West Bank in defense of social and labour rights against the neoliberal policies of the Palestinian National Authority, which put another layer of attacks on the Palestinian people.

WP_20160419_004[1]

WP_20160419_003[1]

WP_20160419_006[1]