AUSPalestine warmly welcomes to Australia Ms Ghada Abu Ghalyoun from the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), who is visiting 5-14 May 2011.  Ms Abu Ghalyoun is coordinator of the International Department and Youth Department of the PGFTU, and has represented the PGFTU in many forums abroad speaking on the situation for Palestinian workers and unions in Palestine.

The PGFTU is the largest union federation in Palestine, with 13 affiliates, all in the private sector. The PGFTU is an affiliate of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and its General Secretary, Shaher Sa’ed, is a vice-president of ITUC. The PGFTU is currently engaged in a mobilization campaign around minimum wages in the Palestinian territories.  See the AUSPalestine EVENTS page for a listing of PGFTU speaking dates around Australia.

In April, the PGFTU was forced to defend itself against misleading reports seeking to misrepresent the PGFTU and its position on BDS and its relations with the Israeli trade union federation, the Histadrut.  PGFTU General Secretary, Shaher Sa’ed, issued a strong statement clarifying his federation’s position on these issues, reaffirming the PGFTU’s support for the boycott call and emphasising that “the relationship between the PGFTU and the Histadrut is one of unequals… [and the] PGFTU refuses to normalise relations with the Histadrut as long as the occupation exists and as long as the racist practices against our people and workers continue.”  See the AUSPalestine NEWS page for the full report (17 April).

In Australian union news, AUSPalestine welcomes and congratulates the AMWU Queensland/NT Branch and MUA Victoria Branch for their passing of positive resolutions of support for Palestine and Palestinian human rights.  Both unions made the following strong statements that, “in order to bring about a just and viable two-state solution… we resolve to support non-violent resistance through the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign against Israel to bring about an end to the illegal occupation.”