Union news in March has seen the leader of the Israeli trade union movement, the Histadrut, say that the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel is “doing a good job all over the world.”

The Gaza Truck Drivers Union called strike action against the Israeli decision on 2 March to permanently close the Karni commercial crossing in the Gaza Strip.  Citing increased logistics costs and insufficient capacity at the only other commercial crossing left open for Gaza’s trade, the truck drivers’ action has highlighted the fact that, since 2007, Israel has now permanently closed three of the four trade & aid goods crossings into the Gaza Strip – an action in violation of international agreements, and which further seals the Gaza Strip and its 1.5 million Palestinian population off from the rest of the world.

In support of International Transport Federation (ITF) policy which calls for “the opening of facilities to provide land, air and sea points of entry and exit for trade for the Palestinian people free from interference by the Israeli occupying power”, AUSPalestine calls on Australian transport unions to write to the Israeli Ambassador – and copy letters to the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), and the Histadrut – to condemn Israel’s actions against the Palestinian people which severely limit their legitimate access to trade and economic relations with the outside world and to demand Israel’s compliance with international agreements and immediately open all commercial crossings into the Gaza Strip to allow full economic freedom for the Palestinian people.

In the West Bank, Palestinian unions joined women’s rallies in support International Women’s Day.  The Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) utilised this opportunity to launch their national campaign seeking minimum wage and social protections for all Palestinian workers.

In the international union arena, fresh new calls in support of the Palestinian call for BDS against Israel were seen from the largest Brazilian trade union confederation – the Central Única dos Trabalhadores; and the global union federation, Union Network Internation (UNI) – which represents 20 million workers in 900 unions around the world – issued a strong resolution to join the BDS call at its 3rd World Congress in late 2010.  UNI affiliates in Australia include the Shop Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA), the Finance Sector Union (FSU), the Australian Services Union (ASU), the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA), and the Communications, Electrical & Plumbing Union (CEPU).

All these articles can be viewed on the AUSPalestine NEWS page.