Friday, 24 June 2011
UNISON Rejects Executive Report and Maintains Suspension of Links with Israel’s Apartheid Union Histadrut
Histadrut, Isral's apartheid union, has never, not once, opposed the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Not surprising since its building company (since privatised) Solel Boneh built the early settlements!
Like many people I believed that the sabotage by Shaher Saeed, the unelected General Secretary of the Palestinian trade union PGFTU, when he told a Unison delegation that he didn’t support a boycott of the apartheid Histadrut ‘trade union’ meant that the suspension of such links last year was likely to be overturned. Fortunately I was wrong. Saeed, a corrupt Fateh official, has previous form.
However Saeed was forced to issue a statement backtracking on what he had said. And there was a joint trade-union statement reemphasising the need to boycott the Histadrut. The UNISON Report was quite clear.
‘The PGFTU in particular said that UNISON should maintain links with the Histadrut so that we could specifically put pressure on them to take a more vocal public stance against the occupation and the settlements.’
Of course none of this was difficult to understand, after all Palestinian trade unions have no choice but to work with Histadrut. Just as German Jews were forced to say they were opposed to a boycott of German goods in 1933 (except for the Zionists who struck up a trade agreement with Jewish Palestine!) it obvious that they are not free agents.
Fortunately, despite the cowardice of the Unison Executive, the majority of Unison’s Conference saw through what was happening and the stupidity of the delegation and voted to maintain the suspension of links with Histadrut, which had openly welcomed and supported the attack on Gaza and the blockade and siege of Gaza. Last year what tipped the balance was the declaration by Histadrut supporting the murder of human rights activists on board the Mavi Marmara.
Next year activists need to get organised in Unison to turn the suspension into a breaking of links with this ‘union’.