Omar Barghouti comments
One of the largest trade union federations in the world, the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) has overwhelmingly adopted BDS motions in its annual congress!
The South African trade union federation, COSATU, and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) were the two national TU federations that preceded the TUC in adopting BDS.
Given that TUC represents over 6. 5 million British workers, this huge success is no small feat. The size and political significance of the British TUC's endorsement of BDS motions will surely add qualitatively to the impressive rise of the BDS movement after the Israeli massacre in Gaza, further confirming that our South Africa moment has arrived.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and its partners have worked tirelessly, persistently and tactfully for several years to reach this astounding victory, crowning previous BDS endorsements -- direct or indirect -- by the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) earlier this year and several leading British trade unions including Unison and the University and College Union (UCU), the latter representing about 120, 000 members in academia.
A warm salute especially to the PSC, as well as the STUC, BRICUP and to all British BDS activists who contributed over the years to this watershed in the BDS movement's history in the UK, Europe and beyond.
It is worth remembering that in the struggle against South African apartheid the British trade union movement was among the very few in the vanguard of boycotts and divestment that eventually spread to the rest of the world, helping the democracy and freedom movement in South Africa bring down the racist regime. Israeli apartheid and its apologists should take note of this.
Below are excerpts from the motion that passed, sponsored by the amazingly principled and courageous Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and amended by the UCU. Following that is the PSC press release about this victory.
FBU Motion adopted by TUC Congress 2009
Motion was amended with final paragraph by UCU
"Congress condemns the Histadrut statement of 13th January 2009 in which it backed the attacks on Gaza and calls on the General Council to carry out a review of the TUC’s relationship with Histadrut.
Congress calls on the General Council to pressure the Government to:
a) Condemn the Israeli military aggression and end the blockade on Gaza
b) End all arms trading with Israel
c) Impose a ban on the importing of goods produced in the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories
d) Support moves to suspend the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Congress further calls on the General Council to encourage affiliation to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and to develop an effective Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions campaign by working closely with the PSC to:
1) raise greater awareness on the issues
2) promote a targeted consumer-led boycott
3) encourage trade unionists to boycott Israeli goods, especially agricultural products that have been produced in the illegal settlements.
4) encourage campaigns of disinvestment from companies associated with the occupation.
Congress asserts that in undertaking these actions each affiliate will operate within its own aims and objectives and within the law.”
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)