Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)
Solidarity message for TUC Congress 2007
Shaher Sae’d, General Secretary
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Dear Friends and colleagues,
First of all I would like to express our apologies for not being able to be with you in your distinguished event, in the UK.
Today is a historical day in the life of international union movement to enhance once again principles and values which we struggle to achieve and for them many workers and union leaders have lost their lives or tortured by forces acting against freedom and rights.
We are sending you our solidarity from here from Palestine, which is attacked by Israeli soldiers through killing, injuring, arresting thousands of Palestinian, as well as demolishing, destroying factories, houses, roads without any comment from the International Community.
It was not before along time that workers had been denied their rights to form their unions or to enjoy their fundamental rights to represent their workers, to perform collective bargaining and agreements and to seek for equity and equality.
In this prospect you were, and will be the body in which union movement has been strengthened and deepened and become much aware of their responsibilities in fields of fair globalization, international peace, social justice, democracy and freedom.
We together fight against all kinds of discrimination, the use of force to solve conflicts and the violation of human rights. These values are now adopted and enhanced by our new organisation which will coordinate, link and support union relations and activities in this part of the world.
We in the PGFTU always appreciate and highly respect all the efforts to support the Palestinian struggle to achieve our legitimate rights and to establish the independent Palestinian state and to achieve permanent peace in the area to create the suitable environment for a better future for our workers and their families.
The political and economical situation is very critical. Nowadays and according to the United Nations reports nearly 70% of the Palestinian people are living under poverty line and more than 45% are unemployed. Israeli occupation authority is still violating the international laws, Geneva conventions and human rights. Workers are banned from free movement. The illegal wall makes the life of nearly half million people miserable.
We do hope that our distinguished organisation will continue efforts to pressure Israel to comply with UN resolutions to respect the rights of the Palestinian people, to withdraw from the occupied territories and to enable them to enjoy life as any people in the world.
On the union concerns, there are still many problems and obstacles facing our goals. Some authorities are still violating the principle rights, globalization is considered the greatest challenge not only for our unions and the rights of our workers but also for the mankind.
We do believe that we have to continue our struggle for improving the conditions of the workers by regional and international solidarity.
It is the time now to begin our activities to pave the way for new horizon from the well-being of all workers men and women, adults and young in independent and democratic unions.
AND WE MUST SUCCEED.
During two months ago the Israeli Army attacked Lebanon, it repeated the same measures and crimes that practiced in Palestine as killing, injuring, destroying the infrastructures. This continuous series terrorism of the Israeli State should be stopped.
The results of the Israeli practices with its American Administration alliance gives difficult consequences in different levels (political, social, economical).
Now we are in Palestine in front of critical conditions.
All the Palestinian territories are involving into a general strike in public sector since the 2nd of September 2006, it will be an open strike which means that about 84,000 employees in the public sector don’t take their wages since six months, there is an increasing of the percentage of poverty and unemployment to reach to 27% of the Palestinian national income.
Since September 2000 we were discussing with you the impacts of the huge percentage of poverty and unemployment, but the situation nowadays becomes more difficult. In Gaza the situation is a nightmare, where the percentage of unemployment reaches 65% and poverty 70%. And after the redeployment of the Israeli Army from Gaza, it becomes a big prison, people are suffering deeply because Israeli authorities not only closed the Israeli borders with Gaza, but it also closed the borders with Egypt.
In this way Israel controlled the movement of the Palestinian workers and prohibited them to work inside the Green Line and even in Egypt. All this led to economical crises.
In the West Bank, the situation will become miserable after accomplishing the illegal wall, which is built by Israelis in the Palestinian lands.
Military checkpoints (over 370 ones) are spread between the cities make it very difficult for workers and for citizen to move freely and swiftly.
The journey, which takes 40 minutes, will take nowadays 4 hours.
Brothers and sisters,
Now in the Palestinian lands there are over than 360 thousands unemployed workers out of 985 thousands.
The workers loss during the last six years because of the Israeli restrictions are over $1,800 million. It is expected that in the beginning of the New Year new unemployed workers will join the unemployed army (additional 180 thousand) after the accomplishing of the illegal wall.
After the Israeli Army had failed to achieve its goals in Lebanon, the Palestinian community returned to be the target. Within a month Israeli army killed 300 citizens and destroyed hundreds of homes. More than 1000 families are now homeless.
All these violations are occurred without any comment from the international community as usual.
In this prospect let me show what PGFTU had introduced to the workers:
A financial assistance for 265 thousands workers with 110 $ for one time.
Introducing 400 thousands food baskets.
Free medical insurance
We find that the only way to end the Palestinians suffering is through the necessity to end the Israeli occupation to the Palestinian lands because this occupation proves to be the source of in stability in the area.
Palestinians must enjoy international protection and the need to implement the international resolutions and Geneva Conventions.
International community must continue the assistance to the Palestinian people and workers to create projects to employ workers and to reduce the impacts of unemployment.
We in the PGFTU appreciate your efforts for what you have presented and still presenting to support Palestine and Palestinian people.
Issued: 19 September, 2007