Monthly Archives: June 2008

UK’s largest union, UNISON, passes boycott resolution! (CAIA)

Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid | June 22, 2008

UK’s largest union, UNISON, passes boycott resolution!

UNISON – 2008 National Delegate Conference – Composite : AgendaID D – Palestine : Conference welcomes the fact that UNISON has adopted comprehensive policy on Palestine at successive national delegate conferences in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Conference notes that 2007 marked the fortieth anniversary of the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. 2008 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the “Nakba” which led to nearly 900,000 Palestinians refugees fleeing their homes. Many of them and their descendants still live in refugee camps and all are unable to return to their homes.Conference condemns the current siege of Gaza which threatens a humanitarian catastrophe through the denial of food, water, power and medical supplies by the Israeli government in breach of international law which outlaws collective punishment of a civilian population

However, Conference is aware that there is a still a low-level of awareness about the fate of the Palestinian people amongst trade union members and the wider public. Conference is also aware that this is among factors that allow both the British government and the European Union to pursue a foreign policy that whilst formally supporting the creation of an independent, viable Palestinian state effectively tolerates the continuing Israeli occupation.

Conference notes that the Trades Union Congress in 2006 adopted a clear position in support of self-determination for the Palestinian people. Conference recognises the importance of the work in the trade unions to win support for the Palestinian people, to campaign for recognition of their rights and to bring pressure to bear on the British Government to end its complicity in denying the rights of the Palestinian people.

Conference notes that 18 national trade unions affiliate to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) representing over 80% of the organised trade union movement and recognises the potential that this represents for building a mass campaign of solidarity.

Conference recognises the importance of developing the work in the trade union movement at national, regional and local level and encourages all members and branches to affiliate to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and to seek to take initiatives that will strengthen this work in 2008.

Conference welcomes the work carried out by PSC’s Trade Union Advisory Committee and in particular the production of the Education Pack, which can be a valuable resource for work in regions and branches, Trades Union Council and with PSC.

Conference welcomes the organisation of the PSC led Trade Union Delegation of representatives of PCS, UNISON, UCU, UNITE (TGWU section) and TSSA, which visited the West Bank in January 2008. Branches and regions are encouraged to make the maximum use of this opportunity to organise meetings with delegates reporting back.

Conference supports the calling of a trade union conference in the coming year and urges the National Executive Council to work closely with PSC on this initiative and give it maximum publicity and support.

Conference therefore instructs the National Executive Council to:

1) continue to promote awareness about Palestine amongst UNISON’s members, branches and regions by:

a) acting in solidarity with the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions, including;
b) projects to support the Palestinian trade union movement in the Occupied Territories;
c) working with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and other organisations and encourage regions and branches to affiliate to PSC and invite speakers to address branches;
d) examining the investments of their members’ pension funds with a view to calling for disinvestment from companies such as Caterpillar, involved in the occupation;
e) using UNISON publications and other campaign materials
f) Act on some of the recommendations from the PSC trade union delegation to Palestine such as:
i) actions focused on the occupation;
ii) organising fact-finding solidarity delegations to the occupied Palestinian Territories;
iii) conveying solidarity messages to those inside Israel organising against the occupation, the Wall, the
checkpoints and the blockade.

2) work with the TUC and its affiliated trade unions to effectively implement the 2006 Congress resolution, especially through the TUC/Foreign Office and the TUC/Department for International Development forums;

3) raise the issue of Palestine with UNISON’s sister unions abroad and especially the global and European trade union federations to which UNISON is affiliated;

4) work with anti-occupation forces in Israel, such as Gush Shalom and Machson Watch;

5) make links with and give support to PGFTU endorsed worker’s advice centres across the region;

6) continue to work with both PGFTU and the Israeli Histradut to promote civil society dialogue and the peace process;

7) campaign to bring about a concrete change in the policies of the British government and the European Union. A first goal should be:

a) an end to the arms trade between Israel and Britain and EU Member States leading to a mandatory United Nations Arms Embargo;
b) suspension of the European Union/Israel Association Agreement until Israel is in full compliance of its human rights clauses;
c) a ban on imports of all goods, and especially agricultural produce, from the illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories;
d) recognition of the outcome of the last elections to the Palestinian Authority which were certified as free and fair by international observers;

8) Ensure that the union divests itself of any holdings in companies responsible for maintaining the illegal Wall condemned by the International Court of Justice.

Posted on 24-06-2008