16 September 2010
At their annual conference this week the TUC, Britain’s all-encompassing trade union coalition, announced their most comprehensive boycott policy yet. It targets settlement goods as well as companies profiting from the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. The motion to boycott and disinvest from these companies passed unanimously on behalf of the TUC’s seven million members. The announcement will increase pressure on British retailers to cut ties with suspect suppliers.
A TUC spokesperson said: “The resolution is more focused than last year, and we’ll be putting more pressure on retailers, asking them to prove their supply chains don’t involve the occupied settlements.” Last year a similar motion had been tabled but was diluted by the powerful GMB union, and there were several abstentions and objections. This time the vote passed unopposed, seconded by the GMB. The wording of the statement included a “presumption of guilt” that requires companies to prove their profits are not related to settlements, the occupation or the separation barrier.
Although stopping short of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s hope for a boycott of all Israeli goods, the congress statement “encourages the general council to work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign”. This was received enthusiastically by the PSC, who feel the joint publicity will make the issues more mainstream.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber went on to criticise the siege of Gaza and the May raid on the aid flotilla which left nine Turkish activists dead. Transport union TSSA President Andy Bain condemned a policy of “ethnic cleansing” from the Israeli government, adding “we are not against Jews – we are against the actions of the Israeli state.”
See the TUC promotional leaflet here http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/settlementgoodsleaflet.pdf