News 2010 (January-June)

30 June 2010 (Australia): AMWU passes motion on Palestine
At their National Council meeting on 22 June, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has joined the growing list of Australian unions expressing their support for “the long suffering Palestinian people until a just and lasting peace is secured with a durable two state solution.”

25 June 2010 (International): ITUC Congress passes resolution on peace & security in the Middle East
ITUC-affiliated unions have passed a “Resolution on Democracy, Peace, Security & the Role of the United Nations” – paragraphs 12-19 of the document address “the quest for a comprehensive peace between Israel and Palestine.”  Key points are an end to the Israeli occupation, removal of illegal Israeli settlements, an end to the blockade of Gaza, dismantlement of the illegal Separation Wall, and recognition “that economic relations with the settlements help to sustain their existence, in violation of international law.”

25 June 2010 (International): New ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow announces mission to Middle East
Former ACTU President and newly-elected ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, has announced an ITUC mission to the Middle East to urge that the peace process continues there. She emphasised the urgent need to address “the illegal occupation of the West Bank, and the need to end the blockade of Gaza that deprives people of their fundamental needs and entitlements.”

24 June 2010 (UK): British trade union calls for boycott
UNISON, the largest public sector union in Britain, has accused Israel of lying over the Gaza flotilla incident and called for a complete boycott of Israel and the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.  Read UNISON statement; Read Jerusalem Post article.

24 June 2010 (Turkey): Turkish Dock Workers Union Joins Boycott against Israel
The working class movement in Turkey is starting to join the Boycott Against Israel Campaign…the Dock Workers Union “Liman-Is” is the latest union in Turkey joining the anti-apartheid, anti-racist campaign against the state of Israel.

24 June 2010 (Sweden): Swedish Dockworkers Union blockade of Israeli goods begins – ten containers held
By midnight on the 23rd June the Swedish Dock-workers union week-long blockade of goods to and from Israel started.

21 June 2010 (International): Draft resolutions & amendments to go to the ITUC World Congress in Vancouver
The 2nd ITUC World Congress will run this week 21-25 June in Vancouver, Canada.  Read the draft resolution on Israel-Palestine (paragraphs 12-19, Section SCO/E/6.9, page 67).  COSATU has also proposed an amendment to the resolution, which it will table at the Congress.

21 June 2010 (Australia): Unions NSW condemns Israeli assault on flotilla and calls to end the Gaza blockade
In its meeting of 3 June, Unions NSW - the peak union body for trade unions in New South Wales – passed a recommendation “support[ing] the United Nations condemnation of the assault on the freedom fleet by Israeli forces in international waters…As a first step in this process we call upon on the Israeli Government to lift its blockade on Gaza.”

20 June 2010 (Palestine): PGFTU message to San Francisco bay area trade unionists
Message from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) to the trade unionists picketing in San Francisco. View YouTube video of the San Francisco picket on 20 June.

17 June 2010 (Australia): UnionsACT resolution on Palestine
The ACT Trades & Labour Council today passed a resolution “to support consumer boycotts of products made in the illegal settlements, as well as consumer boycotts of companies who assist in, or profit from, the occupation of Palestinian territories.”

17 June 2010 (Australia): Health Services Union resolution on Palestine
The Victorian branch Health & Community Services Union today passed a resolution pledging to “offer our full support to the global Boycott Divestment & Sanctions campaign, including a consumer boycott on companies profiting from the occupation.”

15 June 2010 (USA): San Franciso bay area workers to picket Israeli ships
“We call on everyone who stands for justice and against occupation and apartheid to join the June 20 picket at the Port of Oakland. This is a moment of great opportunity. In San Francisco in 1984, a picket line and refusal to unload cargo of a ship carrying South African cargo was a key event in mobilizing the anti-apartheid movement worldwide.”  View YouTube video of the picket on 20 June.

15 June 2010 (Australia): Union leaders call for suspension of trade visit
Australian union officers have written to Trade Minister Crean calling for him to postpone his planned trade visit to Israel in July, and for Australia to abandon the contract to purchase military communications equipment from Israeli arms manufacturer, Elbit. Click here to read the letter to Minister Crean.

15 June 2010 (Global Unions): Transport workers condemn violence at sea
The International Transport Workers’ Federation pledges to “go beyond letters of protest and lobby with the full weight of the organisation against the occupation and lead a campaign to remove the blockade of Gaza”.

14 June 2010 (Global Unions): Journalists condemn attack on flotilla
The International Federation of Journalists is calling for an inquiry into the Israeli attack on journalists in the flotilla. “We now know that one journalist died and at least one other is seriously injured in horrifying circumstances that remain unexplained,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “This is shocking disregard for the rights of journalists,” said White. The confiscation and then unauthorized use of journalists’ footage shows the contempt that the Israeli authorities have for journalism.”

13 June 2010 (Norway): Norwegian Port Union boycotts Israeli ships
Responding to requests from the Palestinian Workers Union and other unions and organizations around the world, the Norwegian Ports Union decided to follow its Swedish counterpart by launching a boycott on all Israeli ships. The boycott will begin on June 16.

12 June 2010 (Malaysia): Northpoint Employees Union protests arrival of Israeli vessels
About 100 members of Northport (M) Bhd Employees Union (NMBEU) today staged a protest against the arrival of Israeli merchant vessels at Malaysian ports.

10 June 2010 (Australia): Newcastle Trades Hall Council motion on Gaza
The Newcastle Trades Hall Council passed a motion today expressing the “need to support the move to end the blockade of Gaza and support boycotts and sanctions against Israel in the same vein as before in South Africa.”

10 June 2010 (Australia): Australian Education Union resolution on Palestine
The national office of the Australian Education Union yesterday passed a report condemning the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, calling to end the blockade of Gaza, and supporting a targetted BDS campaign of Israeli settlement products.

9 June 2010 (Australia): Geelong Trades Hall Council resolution on Gaza
The Geelong Trades Hall Council in Victoria calls on the Rudd Government to condemn the Israeli government and military for this attack on a peace flotilla in international waters.

9 June 2010 (International): WFTU – Solidarity with the Palestinian people: Three-day strike for Israeli commercial vessels
The Secretariat of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) has today decided to call a strike for three days at all ports of the world against Israeli commercial vessels to or from Israel.

7 June 2010 (Australia): NSW Teachers Federation motion on Palestine
The State Council of the New South Wales Teachers Federation condemns the unprovoked attack in international waters by Israeli forces on a peace flotilla carrying humanitarian aid, calls for an end to the Gaza blockade and demands the Israeli Government comply with international law.

7 June 2010 (Palestine): Palestinian Trade Union Movement Calls on International Dockworkers Unions to Block Loading/Offloading Israeli Ships
The Palestinian trade union movement, as a key constituent member of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), calls on dockworkers’ unions worldwide to block Israeli maritime trade in response to Israel’s massacre of humanitarian relief workers and activists aboard the Freedom Flotilla.

7 June 2010 (USA): Labor for Palestine Condemns Gaza Freedom Flotilla Massacre, Supports Worker Action to Boycott Israel
As trade unionists in the United States, we join with labor bodies around the world to condemn Israel’s May 31 armed assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

4 June 2010 (South Africa): SAMWU Declares, Every Municipality an Apartheid Israel Free Zone!
The South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) unanimously endorsed a motion to immediately work towards every municipality in South Africa to become an Apartheid Israel free zone.

3 June 2010 (Palestine): PGFTU press release on Histadrut statement
The Palestinian General Federation of Trade unions (PGFTU) reacted with shock at the irresponsible stand taken by General Federation of Labour in Israel (Histadrut) regarding the Israeli Forces brutal attacks on civilians, including trade unionists, on the freedom flotilla.

3 June 2010 (Australia): ASU NSW/ACT Branch joins the Boycott Campaign to pressure Israel to abide by International Law
The Australian Services Union (ASU) Executive yesterday condemned the attack by the Israel Defence Forces on the Gaza peace flotilla and called for the immediate lifting of the Israeli siege on Gaza. The Executive also resolved to join the International union and civil society campaign of Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions to pressure Israel to abide by international law in their treatment of the Palestinian people.

3 June 2010 (Australia): CFMEU Statement on the Israeli Commando attack on the Freedom Flotilla
The CFMEU stands with the people of Gaza and the international community in condemning the unprovoked and cowardly Israeli commando attack on the Freedom Flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in the blockaded Gaza.

3 June 2010 (Australia): South Coast Labour Council resolution on Gaza
A resolution from the South Coast Labour Council “condemns the State of Israel for the attack and murder of activists in international waters…”

3 June 2010 (UK): Collection of international union statements on Israeli attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla
The Trade Unions department of the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign has collected on this page a number of international union statements on the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla.

2 June 2010 (Sweden): Swedish Port Workers Union will blockade Israeli ships and cargo
The Swedish Port Workers Union has today given notice of the blockade of all Israeli ships and cargo to and from Israel which is managed by the union members. The blockade will be effective at. 00:00 Tuesday, June 15 and lasts until at. 24:00 Thursday, June 24. [Swedish Port Workers Union statement in English ].

2 June 2010 (Global Unions): PSI condemns Israeli attack on aid convoy
Public Services International (PSI) joins the international trade union movement in condemning the killing of civilians aboard a convoy of ships attempting to bring humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

2 June 2010 (Australia): ACTU condemns attack, calls for an end to blockade of Gaza
Australian Council of Trade Unions President, Sharan Burrow, said the incident was an outrage and the blockade of Gaza should be lifted. “A full, open and independent inquiry is needed to establish the precise details of what took place when armed Israeli soldiers boarded vessels in the convoy, which was organised to bring supplies to Gaza,” Ms Burrow said. “Those responsible for violations of international law must be brought to justice.”

2 June 2010 (Australia): ANF saddened by loss of life
The Australian Nursing Federation feels saddened by the unnecessary loss of life from the aid flotilla that was taking much needed assistance to the people of Gaza.

2 June 2010 (Australia): MUA condemns Israeli attack
Martime Union of Australia (MUA) delegates at the National Stevedoring Conference in Melbourne yesterday joined unions internationally condemning the Israeli attack and bloodshed on the Mavi Marmara aid ship for Gaza.

2 June 2010 (Israel): Histadrut, blaming the victim
In a long statement about collaboration with Palestinian workers, Israel’s official trade union federation blames the flotilla and Gazans for violence: “We are saddened by the fact that an action whose goal is apparently humanitarian assistance deteriorated to the violence that lead to loss of life. Unfortunately, the conduct of the flotilla organizers, through the rejection of the Israeli proposal, was to attain provocation to strengthen Hamas, agitate the real peace efforts in the region….”

2  June 2010 (Ireland): Irish unions express solidarity and anger
Irish union leaders support “Rachel Corrie” ship to break blockade of Gaza, denounce Israel as “rogue state”.

2 June 2010 (Britain): UK TUC denounces attack
British union leaders have joined unions around the world in solidarity with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

2 June 2010 (South Africa): COSATU condemns killings
South Africa’s largest union federation restated solidarity with Palestine and condemned Israel’s violence.

1 June 2010 (Australia): NSW Teachers Federation condemns Israeli attack
The Executive of the NSW Teachers Federation this afternoon condemned in the strongest possible terms the unprovoked attack in international waters by Israeli forces on a peace flotilla carrying humanitarian aid.

1 June 2010 (Portugal): Portugese unions condem Israeli massacre
The CGTP-IN expresses its profound repudiation and condemnation of the barbaric attack by Israeli commandos, which took place a couple of nights ago, in front of the Gaza Strip.

1 June 2010 (New Zealand): NZCTU calls for stronger action over Gaza
The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) has called for stronger action over the Israeli attack on the humanitarian flotilla attempting to breach the blockade of Gaza.

31 May 2010 (International): ITUC - Killings at Sea an Outrage
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) condemns the killing of as many as 19 persons in a boat convoy headed for Gaza today, and the wounding of many more, as an outrage.

31 May 2010 (International): WFTU – New Israeli barbarism in Palestine
The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) condemns the new Israeli barbarism that has resulted in the murdering of people who just wanted to express their solidarity with the people of Gaza.

31 May 2010 (Global Unions): IFJ condemns Gaza attack and demands international inquiry after reports of media casualties
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today reacted with shock at the news of the brutal attacks on civilians, including journalists, by Israeli forces in the assault on a flotilla that yesterday tried to breach the military blockade of the Gaza coastline in Palestine.

31 May 2010 (Global Unions): ITF condemns Israeli attack on aid ship
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which represents professional seafarers worldwide, is shocked and appalled by Israeli forces’ attack this morning on the lead ship of a humanitarian aid convoy.

31 May 2010 (Canada): CUPW letter to Canadian Prime Minister
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) writes a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding Israeli attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

31 May 2010 (Australia): Electrical Trades Union resolution on Palestine
The Electrical Trades Union Queensland Branch has today passed a resolution resolving “to support the Palestinian BDS campaign…and to support the aim of a sovereign Palestinian state peacefully co-existing alongside a sovereign Israel in a nuclear-weapon free Middle East.”

30 May 2010 (Israel): Israeli unions support boycott – of Turkey
While the Israeli trade union federation, the Histadrut, maintains its public stance that “we believe that conflicts are solved by dialogue and negotiations, and not by boycotts,” another story is offered by Irit Rosenblum in respected Israeli newspaper Haaretz on 30 May: “Israeli trade unions might renew their explicit boycott of Turkey as a destination for their members, in view of Ankara’s role in organizing the aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip…”

30 May 2010 (Britain): British academic union makes BDS history
At its 2010 Congress currently underway, the UK University and College Union has reaffirmed its support for the boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) campaign initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005.  A number of motions were passed, including resolutions “to sever all relations with Histadrut [the General Federation of Labour in Israel]” and “to commence the investigatory process associated with the imposition of a boycott of Ariel College [in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel]“.  The Palestinian group, PACBI, has commended this historic stance by the UCU (see PACBI article).

20 May 2010 (Australia): Unions to host visiting Palestinian lawyer
A number of Australian unions have come together to host the Palestinian-Canadian lawyer, Ms Diana Buttu, to Australia in June/July 2010.  The National offices of the CFMEU, AMWU, AEU, CPSU, CEPU and ANF have combined to host the tour, with plans for Ms Buttu to visit Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.  AUSPalestine will provide details of Ms Buttu’s various speaking engagements on our Events page as details become available.

14 May 2010 (Australia): Unions commemorate Palestinian Nakba
A number of Australian unions attended the annual Nakba Commemoration event held last night at NSW Parliament House, commemorating 62 years since the Palestinian expulsion from historic Palestine in May 1948. Representatives of the ASU, CFMEU, AEU, LHMU, MUA, and FSU were present to hear Professor George Bisharat, from University of California Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, deliver a lecture on the ongoing significance of the Nakba (“catastrophe”) for the Palestinian people.  The event was hosted by the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Palestine and saw the attendance of a number of State Members of Parliament – Minister Paul Lynch MP, Ms Lynda Voltz MLC, Mr Ian West MLC, Mr Shaoquett Moselmane MLC, Ms Sylvia Hale MLC, Mr Ian Cohen MLC, Ms Lee Rhiannon MLC, Mr John Kaye MLC.  This annual event is organised by the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine, Sydney.
The CFMEU and MUA have endorsed the “Remember the 62nd Nakba anniversary rally”, Saturday 15 May, 3pm, Sydney Town Hall. [see our EVENTS page]

13 May 2010 (Australia): CFMEU resolution on Palestine
The National Executive of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) yesterday passed a resolution that “the CFMEU believes that a boycott of products made in the illegal settlements is justified and is the kind of solidarity action that can send a message loud and clear to the Netanyahu government.”

5 May 2010 (Britain): Campaigning for Decent Work across Palestine
‘We have succeeded in reducing the working day by half an hour. From the experience, I realise that big achievements begin by small steps. That was the accumulated knowledge that I have learnt from the TUC project,’ says Saed Zubaidy, one of the participants in the TUC Aid funded project that has just been completed with the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).

1 May 2010 (Palestine): PGFTU celebrates May Day 2010
On the anniversary of the First of May, the PGFTU had organized several of activities, celebrations, festivals and workers marches throughout the West Bank and Gaza, with tens thousands of workers participating.

28 April 2010 (Canada): Canadian Union of Postal Workers writes to Prime Minister Harper
The National President of the CUPW, Mr Denis Lemelin, has written to the Canadian Prime Minister: “On behalf of the 54,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, I am strongly urging you to block Israel’s membership to the Organization for Economic Co‐Operation and Development (OECD) until it complies with international law and OECD standards…”

23 April 2010 (Ireland): Irish trade union conference on Middle East
Strong Trade Union Solidarity with Palestine:  More than 150 trade union delegates and observers attended ICTU’s Middle East Conference “The way forward for Trade Union Solidarity” in St Patrick’s Hall, Dublin Castle on Friday the 16th of April… “The time for silence is gone, action is required.”

22 April 2010 (Palestine): BNC calls on Trade Unions
The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) calls on Trade Unions to use the significance of May Day to intervene with their governments to block Israel’s membership to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) until it complies with international law and OECD standards.

22 April 2010 (Scotland): Scottish TUC reaffirms Israel boycott
The Scottish Trades Union Congress reiterated its commitment to a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel at its annual meeting in Dundee yesterday, just days after a BBC poll described international attitudes to the country as “widely negative”. [report from Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign]

9 April 2010 (Canada): CUPW letter to Canada Post Corporation
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is “concerned that Canada Post is launching a stamp with Israel on the basis of ‘shared values’.”

9 April 2010 (Ireland): Irish trade union conference on Middle East
On April 16, Congress will host an all-day International Conference on the Middle East which will feature contributions from Palestine, Israel, the United States, Canada, South Africa and the European Union.

8 April 2010 (Britain): Don’t buy settlement goods, says TUC
The British TUC and the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) are today (Thursday) calling on consumers not to buy goods from illegal Israeli settlements…

25 March 2010 (Canada): Canadian Union of Postal Workers supports Global BDS Day of Action
On March 30th, CUPW is asking you to show your solidarity with people in Palestine and Israel who are struggling to end Israel’s Occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.  I am asking you to participate in the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS Day of Action).

22 March 2010 (Australia): Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA Middle East Tour Press Release
Union Aid Abroad–APHEDA, the overseas humanitarian aid agency of the ACTU, led a study tour of trade union officials and members to the Middle East from Monday 1st March to Monday 15th March, 2010.

10 March 2010 (International): ITUC condemns Israel settlement plans
The ITUC has condemned the Israeli government’s decision to build some 1,600 new settlement homes on Palestinian land next to Jerusalem, just two days after the Palestinian Authority had announced its willingness to hold “proximity” talks with Israel using US mediation.

18 February 2010 (Australia): Palestinian Ambassador addresses CFMEU leadership
The Ambassador and Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, Mr. Izzat Abdulhadi, spoke at the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the CFMEU yesterday in Sydney.

28 January 2010 (South Africa): Address by COSATU President, Sidumo Dlamini, to the Gaza Report-back Rally in Lenasia
Almost a year ago, Gaza was run down by the occupying forces of Israel in a barbaric show of might and in pursuit of their colonial expansionist ambitions…