7 March 2017, via Democracy & Workers’ Rights Centre (DWRC)
Through an EU-funded project, female beauty salon workers & hairdressers establish a trade union in Gaza.
On Monday 20/02/2017, female hairdressers and beauty salon workers held the establishing conference for their union in Gaza. The conference was attended by 200 members of the new union, a representative on behalf of the European Union and representatives of the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development and the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center. The establishment of this new union is a result of the joint work undertaken by the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center and the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development to empower women to improve their situation and defend their rights collectively under the project “Enhancing Rights and Freedoms of Palestinian Workers” funded by the European Union.
Mr. Nidal Ghaben, representing the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center, opened the conference saying:
“It was necessary to establish a union for female hairdressers and beauty salons workers, as they are exposed to numerous violations of their rights and suffer from bad working conditions”. He added: “the establishment of this union will lead to improving the situation of female workers in this sector and will increase employers’ abidance to the labor law, which guarantees their basic rights”.
Throughout the year 2016, women workers attended a series of training courses, workshops and awareness meetings about the right to organize and other fundamental rights, trade union management and drafting internal regulations among other topics, in order to acquire knowledge and skills for forming and running their union.
Mrs. Amal Abu Aisha, the director of Palestinian Working Women Society for Development in Gaza, expressed pride in the establishment of a workers’ union that defends and protects the interests of female hairdressers and beauty salons workers, which is a marginalized sector in the Gaza Strip.
During the conference, members approved the union’s internal statute and chose their interim board. They also discussed the union’s priorities in the coming year, which are to obtain its recognition by the Ministry of Labor, reinforce its organizational structure through the existing workers’ committees, recruit additional members, implement awareness & training programs for union members and leaders, and prepare for the next conference.
Mrs. Mayadda Mas’ouda, a member of the new union’s leadership from the Northern Gaza governorate said:
“I am proud that I affiliated to this union in order to work on defending the rights of female workers in this marginalized sector”, and added, “female workers in this sector have very low wages, they do not get insurance against work injuries and they do not get any compensations.”