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23 May 2021

Rafeef Ziadah, Tribune

Palestinian trade unions commend international trade union movement after workers around the world undertake actions of solidarity

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“It’s Time for Trade Unions to Back BDS”, 23 May 2021

Palestinians embarked on a historic general strike on 18 May, against a backdrop of yet another Israeli military assault on the Gaza Strip and the ongoing forced displacement in Jerusalem…

In the spirit of the general strike, Palestinians also appealed to trade unions internationally to halt material support for Israel’s crimes. The Italian union L’Unione Sindacale di Base … [refused] to load a shipment of weapons onto a vessel bound for Israel… the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) refused to offload the Zim Shanghai owned by Israeli company Zim Lines. Dockworkers in Oakland, California were also planning to refuse to offload another Israeli-owned ship before it was diverted.

Meanwhile in Britain, a group of activists occupied the rooftop of [an] Israeli-owned … facility which produces parts for military drones. The Leicestershire Fire Brigades Union … refused to remove them, stating that ‘the Fire Brigades Union stands in support of Palestinian solidarity and the right to protest.’…

These are significant acts of defiance that register strongly among Palestinians. However, they must not be sporadic and limited only to those times when Palestine is in the news…

… Palestinian trade unions have issued an important international call for action

There have been numerous motions in support of the Palestinian people among trade unions internationally...

As trade unions… we have power to halt support for racist regimes … The trade union boycott of South Africa stands out as a bright example of this tradition of effective solidarity.