Palestine remains in a state of heightened political uncertainty, which has a significant impact on the development of the Palestinian economy and the employment of Palestinian workers.
|A PGFTU advertisement reads: "True dignity means providing a secure life for unemployed, ill, aging, and bereaved workers."
Throughout 2008, the political factions of Fatah and Hamas remained at odds, splitting official Palestinian political representation both geographically and politically between the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Various attempts at a Palestinian national dialogue failed to bring unity between the two factions, despite support for reconciliation among the population. Moreover, the Annapolis peace process that began at the end of 2007 did not produce hoped-for solutions between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Looming questions remain about future Palestinian elections and the formation of a unity government, the likelihood of achieving statehood, and the resolution of the conflict with Israel. Over 600 Israeli checkpoints and road obstructions, as well as frequent closures, severely restrict freedom of movement, commerce, and employment.
|The future leaders of the Palestinian labor movement.
In this stressed and changing environment, providing support for civil society is imperative. As the principal voice for working families and the unemployed, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) plays a prominent role in supporting the rule of law and developing coalitions among organizations seeking peaceful solutions to the conflict. In spite of these terrible conditions and severe challenges, the PGFTU has continued to be an important, voice for working families, as well as the swelling ranks of the unemployed. As membership-based organizations, unions are permanent features of the Palestinian civil society landscape and are grounded in the daily life of thousands of working people. Trade unions are among the most significant institutions of civil society that are not a direct part of any political party.
The Solidarity Center supports PGFTU advocacy for the creation of sustainable jobs and the enforcement of labor laws, and their efforts to improve the lives of working people and create a more equitable society. Other initiatives help the PGFTU to build national unions, organize workers into trade unions, train newly elected union officers, and advocate for national policies aimed at creating decent jobs.
|On the occasion of its 2011 Congress, AFL-CIO Executive Vice-President Arlene Holt-Baker sends video greetings to the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions.
Report: Most Palestinian Workers Paid Less than Minimum Wage.
May 7, 2013—More than half of Palestinian workers—59 percent—earn less than the national minimum wage established in October 2012, and women workers are paid half as much as male wage earners, according to a new report. A large majority, 85 percent, of Palestinian workers do not have a written contract guaranteeing their conditions of employment.
Unions Fight Child Labor in Palestine.
June 12, 2012—Poor education, poverty, and unemployment due to decades of occupation have pushed children in Palestine into the streets, where they beg passersby to purchase chewing gum, clothing, and other items. By raising awareness of this humanitarian crisis and pushing for better laws, the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) is part of the fight to end child labor and make sure children can stay in school. PGFTU recently published the stories of two children, Ahmed and Jarrah, in an effort to spread the word.
Letter of Solidarity from Palestine General Federation of Free Trade Unions to U.S. Public Employee Union Members, February 27, 2011
Hotel Workers Gain Recognition of Rights in Palestine. Palestinian hotel workers closed 2010 with a major victory, achieving important rights and protections after more than a year of negotiations with the Arab Hotel Association. “The agreement elevates and strengthens the workers’ spirits and creates optimism about improving working conditions,” said Ahmad Hasasneh, 45, who helped organize campaigns in Ramallah and Bethlehem.
Delegation of Palestinian Trade Unionists Visits Solidarity Center. From February 20 through March 1, 2010, the Solidarity Center and the AFL-CIO hosted a delegation from the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions for an important exchange on trade union rights and union organizing, public policy advocacy, and unemployment and economic development, as well as to help foster ties between U.S. and Palestinian workers and strengthen global labor contributions to peace building in the region.
Education for Change: Sowing the Seeds of Solidarity.Solidarity Center hosts a seven-member delegation of women union educators from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Yemen.
Palestinian Unions Under Siege with Bombings, Kidnappings, Assassination Attempts. Palestinian workers and unions face the impact of rising poverty, a nearly 50% unemployment rate, and violent attacks.
Letters of Support from AFL-CIO President John Sweeney