GFTU Statement on Palestine

The General Federation of Trade Unions stands in solidarity with working people in Palestine and Israel and calls for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the siege of Gaza. We condemn the killing of Israeli civilians by Hamas and the killing of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces and extend our sympathies to all those who have lost family and friends. In particular, the impact of this conflict on children and young people has been devastating and will take a long time to heal.

The current escalation in violence takes place in the context of the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel and a systematic oppression of the Palestinian people, described by international human rights organisations as a system of “apartheid”. Since 1967, Palestinians have lived under brutal occupation and their legitimate demand for an independent state has been denied.

The current assault on Gaza has included the bombing of hospitals, the targeting and destruction of 88 schools and the denial of food, medicine and fuel to the people of Gaza. Collective punishment is a war crime under international law and our government must demand the immediate cessation of all military action and the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow vital material aid into Gaza.

We call on all those committed to peace to join the marches and demonstrations in solidarity with Palestine and to pressure our government to act.

GFTU is deeply concerned by the rise in antisemitism and anti-Muslim racism which has accompanied the escalation of the conflict. The trade union movement must work to build unity between working people and oppose those who would divide us. We stand in solidarity with all those who have been subjected to racism and discrimination and against those, particularly in politics and the media, who have encouraged division.

GFTU expresses solidarity with all who fight for justice, equality and peace in Palestine and Israel.

We stand in solidarity with Palestinian trade unions in their call for the trade union movement worldwide to refuse to build or transport weapons to Israel, to take action against companies complicit in the siege of Gaza and to pressure their governments to cease military trade with Israel.

Ultimately, there will be no solution to the crisis until there is an end to the military occupation of Palestinian territory and the blockade of Gaza, and a respect for Palestinian rights, including the right to self-determination and the right to return.

We echo the voice of the democratic forces in Israel and Palestine when they say that there is no military solution to this crisis, only a political one – the end of the occupation and Palestinian independence.

GENERAL FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS AND STRIKE MAP JOINT PRESS RELEASE

****EMBARGOED FOR 00.01 4 September 2023****

General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) and Strike Map announce historic partnership.

General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) is today announcing a historic partnership with Strike Map, after successfully mapping over 230,000 workplaces taking strike action, since December 2020. As workers continue to vote for strike action in response to pay cuts during a growing cost of living crisis, we face the possibility of continued strike action into 2024.

The partnership, due to take effect from 11 October, will mean a new permanent home and mutual collaboration for both GFTU and Strike Map. In celebrating this announcement, Gawain Little, general secretary of the GFTU commented, “The trade union movement faces real challenges but also has huge potential to grow. Strike Map, as one of the most innovative new projects within the movement, provides both answers to those challenges and ways to capture that potential. Our partnership will be about providing critical education for a new layer of trade union leaders, to grow and strengthen the movement for the good of all workers.”

As well as mapping strikes, Strike Map has signed up over 4,000 people to visit a picket, raised thousands of pounds for striking workers and has launched its Strike Clubs, a group of localised networks of over 900 people all coordinating visits to picket lines and solidarity with strikers locally. 

Emma Runswick, deputy chair of the council of the British Medical Association welcomes this move, “We have really appreciated the incredible support of Strike Map during our current pay disputes with the Government. They provide an incredible platform, network and place for building support for all strikes, that is why we support Strike Map and this exciting new partnership.”

An essential part of this partnership will be combining the impressive trade union educational offering of the GFTU with the growing Strike Map reps’ network and local strike clubs. Providing support, educational opportunities and a place to develop the reps, stewards and activists of today and tomorrow.

Sarah Woolley, general secretary of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), commented, “Strike Map continues to innovate and help support this important moment of renewed struggle and fightback from workers everywhere. BFAWU urges all unions to support Strike Map as we have done and cannot wait to see what this partnership with GFTU will deliver.” 

The last few years have seen Strike Map mentioned by a variety of news and media sources, including the Financial Times, Daily Mirror, The New Yorker magazine, Morning Star, Tribune and Novara Media. 
Henry Fowler, a co-founder of Strike Map, said, “From a homemade WordPress website and a google form, we have built a website that is used by millions. The support from branches, regions and national unions has been incredible. We will always remember those that supported us from the beginning. As struggle has grown, so has our map. This partnership with the GFTU is a vital next step, providing an exciting future and opportunities we only dreamed of back in 2020. Like our supporters and affiliates, our incredible volunteers continue to keep our map going, supporting workers in struggle. As we head to 2024 Strike Map will continue building solidarity campaigns that assist workers taking action. Same map, new home.”

ENDS

Notes for Editors: For media enquiries, please email Georgia Wilkinson via georgiaw@gftu.org.uk.
Spokespeople are available for broadcast interviews.

About General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU)

The General Federation of Trade Unions was established in 1899 and is a friendly democratic organisation responsive to the needs of affiliated trade unions. Like unions, we aim to improve the lives of working people and their communities. Working collaboratively, there is no question or issue too large or small that an affiliate cannot refer to us. We seek to add value to specialist trade unions and sections of unions at various levels. With affiliation fees of around £1 per member, per annum, we believe we offer exceptional value. There is a range of support we provide; from developing professional support for General Secretaries and other professional groups such as Finance and Education officers, to offering an exceptional programme of online and face to face trade union activist courses and management training, to youth and arts festivals, to detailed specialist research and highly customised support for individual unions, we have a flexible and expert approach.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GFTU1 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GFTU1899

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gftu_1/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/general-federation-of-trade-unions/ 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr3sXrE5cJ4aX6JbkhelsoA 

 

About Strike Map

Strike Map is a group of trade union activists who have mapped over 230,000 workplaces taking action since 2020. Our map is ‘worker-powered’ and relies on trade unionists uploading their action. Strike map aims to document and present the levels of strike action in the country, enable others to see the levels of action and pass on messages of solidarity and encourage other workers in their struggles.
Strike Map is part funded by the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust.

For more information please go to: https://strikemap.org 

Twitter: @strike_map

Facebook: @strikemap

Instagram: @strike_map

Threads: @strike_map

LinkedIn: @strike-map

YouTube: @strike_map

Youth Officer at the Durham Miners’ Gala with GFTU

When I began my union journey, I never imagined that I would be being invited to attend the Durham Miners’ Gala with the General Federation of Trade Unions. My election to become a representative to attend the event was carried out during another wonderful GFTU event which was geared towards the development of the youth officers within the trade union movement. My account of the experience is as follows.

The experience of the event is something I will never forget. The sheer spectacle of 64 banners and their accompanying 56 brass bands made for a lively and well attended march through the town.

I was fortunate enough to march in the procession at the behest of Gawain Little, General Secretary of the GFTU, had the pleasure of spending time in the company of many dear learned people such as Sarah Woolley, speaker at the event and President of the Bakers and Allied Workers’ union, and to hear speeches from the likes of Zarah Sultana.

I attended a fringe meeting whilst in Durham of fellow trade unionist colleagues and inspirational speakers in a very full hall where speeches were heard from the likes of Paul Novak, General Secretary of the TUC.

On the day of the event, once we had processed to the event grounds, I was struck by the sheer vast scale of the event and by how the feeling of camaraderie permeated through the crowd.

 It was during the day, once the speakers were done that, I had the fortuitous experience of meeting Jeremy Corbyn and was lucky enough to manage a picture. See below.

The day was filled with the meeting of like minds; some of whom I had the pleasure to have met before in other events and including the formal dinner which was the Friday evening prior to the event. It was an enjoyable reason to get dressed up and to meet many new faces and be reacquainted with some old friends prior to the weekend’s big event.

The hotel, in which were based, was perfect for the occasion with superb views of the procession and great facilities which kept us more than adequately fed and watered.

I was also happy to receive a prospectus of the new courses by GFTU which are delivered by the GFTU Educational Trust. This is linked into the newly unveiled educational website of the Educational Trust which can be visited at gftuet.org.uk. The online link to the programme can be found here.

This was a marvellous experience that I would recommend to all folks that have an active interest in trade unions. I look forward to further participation in the many great events attended by and courses provided by the General Federation of Trade Unions.

Thank you for reading.

Connor Berg

Youth Representative

CWU Edinburgh, Dundee and Borders

youth@cwuedb.org

GFTU Headquarters

86 Wood Lane,
Quorn,
Loughborough
LE12 8DB

T: 01509 410970

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