Australian Workers’ Union National Secretary speaks against boycotting Israel

The Australian Workers Union believes that “a-worker-is-a-worker-is-a-worker“.

Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP) has a transcript of a recent speech against boycotting Israel by its national secretary Paul Howes.

“I am proud of the fact that our union believes in, and supports, democratic societies, democratic institutions. I am proud to say our union has a long history of supporting the building of democratic civil society groups – like unions.

Well, how am I to apply AWU tradition in the context of the Middle East? I think I am upholding that union tradition when I work to support the development of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions as an independent, democratic, civic society institution.

I think I am upholding that union tradition as I stand with the union movements of both Israel and Palestine, as they fight for workers rights on both sides of the Green Line.I think I am upholding that union tradition when I support the trust-building co-operative projects that the Israeli trade union movement – led by the Histadrut – and the Palestinian trade union movement – led by the PGFTU – are promoting.

If you truly believe that a-worker-is-a-worker-is-a-worker then the function of any trade union is to ensure fair pay for a fair day’s work and a safe and healthy workplace. This applies to an Israeli worker , this applies to a Palestinian worker. I can’t see how you can discriminate between an Israeli worker and a Palestinian worker. (Let alone a foreign worker from Asia or Africa working in Israel).

Our task now is to support and ensure that trade unions – Israeli or Palestinian – have the capacity to address these issues; and to do so co-operatively. It is because of these principles that I joined with fellow union leaders in the UK and the USA to establish Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP).

That leads me to the new threat to Israel – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).”

Read it all.

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