One of the world’s largest cross-border trade union groups has declared its support for the campaign to boycott Israeli goods and institutions.
Meeting in Durban, South Africa last week, Public Services International (PSI) also pledged to participate in Israel Apartheid Week, an annual series of events designed to raise awareness about the discrimination and human rights abuses faced by Palestinians. PSI represents 20 million workers throughout the globe.
A resolution urging support for the Palestinian-led mobilisation for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was proposed to the PSI congress by the South African Municipal Workers Union. Approved by a large majority, the resolution stated:
“We will continue working with our partners in the trade union movement to ensure that worker solidarity is maximized locally and internationally. The slogan of the trade union movement — ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’ — rings true for the people of Palestine. The injustices and human rights abuses towards Palestinians, while living under the rule of apartheid Israel, affects us all and we will continue to mobilize for a just resolution with urgency.”
The PSI binds together some 500 public-sector unions, who deliver vital services in 150 countries. Among the major concerns of PSI are bringing union solidarity to migrating workers; violence against women; and improving infrastructures in the areas of road-building, water and sanitation, energy, and waste. The PSI has also called on the US and its allies to cease providing weapons to Israel. And it pledged to develop campaigns aimed at persuading companies who are complicit in the occupation to withdraw from any economic activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Welcoming the PSI vote, Muhammed Desai from the organization BDS South Africa said: “Public tenders, municipal contracts and other services must now be scrutinized by shop stewards and trade unionists to ensure that our public services are not in any way connected to Israel. There should be no normal relations with an abnormal state.”