Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Civil Service Union banned by Palestinian Authority

Disturbing news from Palestine that should worry all free trade unionists is the decision of the Palestinian Authority to ban not only a trade union, but the union that represents it's own staff. The following report was published on the Ma'an News website:

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Head of the former union of civil servants, Bassam Zakarneh, said Monday that the union will appeal to the Palestinian High Court of Justice to overturn a decision to close its' offices and dissolve the movement.

The union has delivered all necessary documents to a lawyer who will submit them to the high court next week.

The court will investigate the decision by the Palestinian unity government to dissolve the union of civil servants and label it an illegal organization.

The court will also look into allegations that the PA arbitrarily moved employees in the union to different positions and deducted one days' wages from civil servants.

Zakarneh said he would accept the ruling of the high court and is ready for public dialogue with the PA.

The secretary of the civil servants union, Mohamed al-Araj, and union chief Bassam Zakarneh, were detained in early November after handing themselves in to PA authorities after receiving arrest warrants.

President Mahmoud Abbas' bureau said in a statement at the time of their detention that the union of civil servants was an illegal body established without legal basis.

The presidential statement said that the union continued to operate despite warnings, which "resulted in harm to state properties and to the interests of homeland and citizens."

Zakarneh and the union had recently called for strikes to protest the government's "failure to meet the union's demands."

The official is frequently at odds with the Ramallah-based authorities over labor disputes.

This comes at a time when countries like the UK are recognising the "state" of Palestine.

This report was posted to the main civil service union PCS Face Book page and managed to attract just the one comment when I looked earlier.

Where is the solidarity with our co-workers in the Palestine Authority.

It must be more than a political inconvenience for the anti-imperialist brigade that normally jump up and down over the Palestinian issue at every opportunity.

Problem is they can't blame Israel.

The culprits are the somewhat authoritarian Palestinian "Government themselves.

The PCS union used to claim that "Palestine was at the centre of their international work". I always disagreed with that and not just because my views on a solution to the conflict in the Middle east differ from the so-called "anti-Zionists" on the far left who control the union.

Solidarity with other trade unions should be at the centre of every trade unions "international work". Unions should bring together working people regardless of ethnicity race or gender.

They exist to protect ordinary working folk from exploitation by bad bosses or governments.

But then the lack of free trade unions in Cuba (and the suppression of those that try to form them) has never bothered most comrades. Supporting the Communist dictatorship always comes first for them.

It'll be interesting to see who, if any of the trade unionists who put Palestine high on their agendas react to this news.

I won't hold my breath.

The anti-imperialists are not interested in workers rights.

Workers whether in Palestine or Britain are just pawns in their Marxist games.

That's why free trade unions need to be defended.

Not just from the bosses, but the dictatorial left that seek to use them for their own nefarious purposes.

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