Over 50 trade union delegates representing 23 unions from all over Europe gathered in Barcelona in May at the Second Trade Union Seminar: Justice for Palestine! Ending European complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian workers’ rights organised by European Trade Union Initiative for Justice in Palestine.
During the two day seminar we heard from a wide range of European trade union representatives about the urgent need to challenge and bring about an end to European complicity with Israeli human rights violations.
The seminar was addressed by expert speakers that highlighted European complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian workers’ rights and recommended some concrete actions for the EU in this regards among them:
- banning the import of products from illegal Israeli settlements,
- suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement,
- implementing the recommendations of the European Council on Foreign Relations to halt all financial transactions with Israeli banks that finance Israel’s occupation
- imposing a two-way military embargo on Israel.
Panelists also recommended concrete actions for trade unions to organise campaigns that involve:
- mobilising and educating membership and the public about corporate complicity,
- pressuring public sector pensions to divest,
- working to ensure municipalities adopt procurement policies that exclude complicit companies,
- influencing government policy through public campaigns,
- bringing legal action etc.
During two-day seminar trade union delegates from 10 European countries took part in 3 thematic workshops and 2 plenary sessions. The group at each workshop came out with a number of action points to be implemented in campaigns organised by trade unions in their respective countries. During this workshops we looked at links between European and Israeli military and security sectors, assessing their impact on the Palestinian people and European domestic policies as well as we discussed the importance of creating and developing direct solidarity ties with Palestinian trade unions.
After the conference the delegates dedicated a minute of silence to the victims of Israel’s recent massacre in Gaza and marched through the streets of Barcelona holding a protest rally.
A comprehensive report with conclusions and actions plan will be published and presented soon.