UNISON has strengthened and reconfirmed its support for the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions at this yearâs National Delegate Conference.
The union is one of the countryâs biggest labour organizations and represents 1.3 million National Health Service and other public service workers in the UK. It has been affiliated with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign for many years and taken a stand in support of Palestinian rights for a long time.
This yearâs vote, explicitly stated that âConference believes that ending the occupation demands concerted and sustained pressure upon Israel including an economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycottâ came under the spotlight of many Zionist organizations and media, yet, the ground work done to raise awareness among the members and union leadership has given results – with the motion passed by an overwhelming majority.
UNISON thus joins trade unions such as the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) in Ireland, the Ontario region of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Congress of South African Unions (COSATU) in their calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Full text of the Motion
UNISON National Delegate Conference 2007
Motion : AgendaID 053 – Palestine
Conference continues to consider that a just solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict must be based upon international law and Israel should:
1) withdraw to its 1949-67 borders;
2) allow the refugees of 1948 to return home;
3) remove all its settlements from the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Occupied Syrian Al-Joulan;
4) take down the Apartheid Wall; and
5) respect the Palestinian people’s right to national self-determination and to establish a state in the West bank and the Gaza Strip with its capital in Jerusalem.
Conference notes that the Israeli occupation has now continued for 40 years. It welcomes the formation of the “Enough!” coalition to focus protest on this anniversary.
But Conference believes that ending the occupation demands concerted and sustained pressure upon Israel including an economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycott.
Conference condemns the economic sanctions imposed upon the Occupied Palestinian Territories following Palestinian Parliamentary Elections of 25 January 2006, which make worse the appalling economic circumstances of the occupation. It is a unique example of economic sanctions imposed, not upon an occupier, but upon a population struggling against illegal military occupation.
Conference instructs the National Executive Council to:
a) continue to campaign with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others as appropriate;
b) continue to develop capacity building projects with the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU);
c) call upon the United Kingdom government to end the arms trade with Israel;
d) produce UNISON’s own material on Palestine to build knowledge among members;
e) consider inviting a PGFTU delegation to tour regions;
f) seek ways to work with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and other trade unions on the basis of the TUC 2006 Congress resolution;
g) raise the issue of Palestine with UNISONâs overseas partners and with international trade union federations with the aims of:
i) suspending the European Union/Israel Association Agreement; and
ii) a mandatory United Nations Arms Embargo on Israel of the kind the Security Council imposed on South Africa in 1977; and
h) encourage branches and regions to affiliate to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), help build PSC branches and consider twinning with PGFTU organised public sector workers in Palestine.