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Since its start in the beginning of the twenties of the 20th century, the Palestinian trade union movement struggled for the rights of the working class and for the right of the Palestinian people to live freely in a democratic independent Palestinian state.

Many of its leaders were persecuted by the British Mandate Authorities (1921-1948), the Jordanian Authorities in the West Bank, and the Egyptian Authorities in Gaza (1948-1967), the Israeli Authorities in Israel (1948 until now) and the Israeli Occupation Authorities in Gaza and the West Bank (1967 until now)

After 1967 the offices of the trade union movement were closed, the leaders were arrested and/or deported and many leaders had to work underground.

The movement was the first mass organisation to recognise the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people.

The Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) was one of the first main organisations to declare its support for the peace process and the Oslo Agreement, hoping that the implementation of the agreement will lead to establishing a Palestinian state, which can live in peace and prosperity.

Since the Madrid Peace Conference and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority under President Arafat, the PGFTU has been struggling to develop itself into a strong, democratic and effective organisation to be better able to participate in strengthening the civil Palestinian society to build up a democratic Palestinian state, and to protect the rights of its members working in both Israeli and Palestinian worksites.

Besides the obstacles, which any trade union movement faces, the PGFTU together with all Palestinians are facing the inhuman Israeli occupation, and its results such as 2359 martyred, 527 of those killed were children, 11,000 injured, with many disabled, 7000 prisoners, 700 of them are under administrative detention, and 350 of these prisoners are children.

The Israeli occupation forces do all they can (checkpoints, sieges, closures, demolishing houses, uprooting trees, confiscating land, humiliating people, building the Apartheid separation wall, imprisoning freedom fighters, killing civilians…) to make sure our people yield to the Israeli conditions completely so that they can annex more land and legalise the inhuman occupation.

Due to the destruction of the Palestinian economy by the Israeli military, the very high unemployment rate of 41 per cent, 75 per cent of people living under the poverty line, the PGFTU had to revise its policy and working program so that the social situation of the members and their economic and social situation became a priority. The PGFTU has been able to ensure its members reduction in health insurance, distributed more than half a million food baskets, 240,000 were given an amount of $150. Thousands of workers have been through an employment programme where they got about $180 a month.

The PGFTU also helps the workers in the legal issues such as the workers who are dismissed from their work whether inside Israel or the West Bank, a staff of lawyers helps us in the legal issues, for there are more than 3500 cases against PNA, and the Israeli employers, also there are hundred cases against Palestinian employers. The PGFTU also works intensively on determining the Palestinian Labour Law and the Social Security Law, for this PGFTU now is working to determine the laws and the executive systems of the Labour Law and the Social Security Law, and to establish a social security association, to create a social security protection for the Palestinian workers.

We will continue our fight for a free Palestine, for a democratic Independent Palestinian state. We will continue our struggle for better conditions for our workers.

We will continue our struggle for peace.

Together with you, all freedom lovers and peace supporters we will continue our struggle.

With the support of all freedom lovers, to support the Palestinian struggle for their rights, social justice to have their own democratic independent state, sisters and brothers in all trade unions we will continue our fight for freedom.

For more information you can contact

Head of PGFTU Delegation
Mohammed Saleh (Aruri)
Email: m_aruri@yahoo.com
Telfax: PGFTU office 00972 2965865


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