24 September 2012 / Electronic Intifada / Why Palestine is a key issue for UK trade unions
A debate and vote at Britain’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) on 11 September marked another watershed moment for solidarity with Palestine. The motion called for a delegation to Gaza to be organized by the Trades Union Congress in conjunction with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in order to “determine how the TUC may most effectively contribute to the end of the blockade.”
Speaker after speaker queued up to speak in favor of the motion on Palestine, which was supported by the TUC General Council, and Congress unanimously voted in support of establishing a fact-finding delegation in order to find out how best to campaign for an end to the siege of Gaza.
Billy Hayes, the general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, moved the motion, which was seconded by Hugh Lanning, the deputy general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union. After the vote, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign organized a meeting — separate from the official TUC program — to discuss the next steps for trade union solidarity with Palestine. Hayes said in a speech at the meeting that he was “delighted” to see how little opposition there was to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign proposal.
“This is a big tribute to work that supporters of the Palestinians have carried out in recent years inside the trade unions,” Hayes remarked, adding that once unions have taken careful steps to change policies, they are also reluctant to revert back (“Speech: The Palestine Solidarity fringe meeting, TUC Congress, Brighton,” The Communications Union, 11 September 2012).
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