The ITUC affiliate in Palestine is the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).
Palestine was recognised for the first time as a non-member observer state by the UN in November 2012 (Resolution 67/19) and has developed bilateral relationships with more than 130 governments.
However, despite an on and off long-term peace process, a two-state solution, guaranteeing the coexistence of Israel and Palestine as two sovereign states has not been achieved yet.
The continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the existence of illegal Israeli settlements there and their impacts on the lives of Palestinians including their access to water, along with the blockade of Gaza, impose severe constraints on the potential for Palestinian economic and social development and make many Palestinian workers dependent on precarious work in the settlements.
The most recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory found that the prolonged occupation by Israel led to the denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. Moreover, the report states that Israel’s practices and policies appear to constitute a form of apartheid and segregation.
In July 2014, the UN Human Rights Council found that Israel systematically failed to carry out genuine investigations on violence and offences carried out against Palestinians by the occupying forces and settlers and to establish judicial accountability over its military actions.
The massive military attack against Gaza started in June 2014 was considered disproportionate and indiscriminate. Israel was also criticised for grave violations of the human rights of the Palestinian civilian population including mass arrests and killings.
It is impossible for workers to enjoy their rights in a country where governmental institutions have fundamentally failed to hold those who are responsible for systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian law accountable. Respect for the rule of law is essential when it comes to the protection of the rights of workers.
Freedom of association / Right to organise
No information available.
Right to collective bargaining
Right to strike
Barriers to lawful strike actions
- Excessively long prior notice / cooling-off period
- Unions must give two week’s advance notice, or four weeks in public utilities.
- Compulsory recourse to arbitration
A means of resolving disputes outside the courts through the involvement of a neutral third party, which can either be a single arbitrator or an arbitration board. In non-binding arbitration, the disputing parties are free to reject the third party’s recommendation, whilst in binding arbitration they are bound by its decision. Compulsory arbitration denotes the process where arbitration is not voluntarily entered into by the parties, but is prescribed by law or decided by the authorities.
See conciliation, mediation , or to long and complex conciliation conciliation An attempt by a neutral third party, a conciliator, to aid the settling of an industrial dispute by improving communications, offering advice and interpreting issues to bring the disputing parties to a point where they can reconcile their differences. The conciliator does not take as active a role as a mediator or an arbitrator.
See arbitration, mediation and mediation mediation A process halfway between conciliation and arbitration, in mediation a neutral third party assists the disputing parties in reaching a settlement to an industrial dispute by suggesting possible, non-binding solutions.
See arbitration, conciliation procedures prior to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.
See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike actions
- The Ministry of Labour can impose arbitration, and trade unions can face disciplinary action if they do not accept the outcome of that arbitration.
On 28 February 2013, 28 union representatives were prevented from travelling via Rafah International Crossing Point to a series of meeting held by the Executive Committee of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions under the auspices of the ILO
International Labour Organization
A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.
See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights in Egypt. The Internal Security Service said that the union representatives were not permitted to travel.
In March 2013, the Deputy Minister of Education Muhammad Abu Zeid announced that teachers who participate in a strike
The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.
See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike will be subjected to a special schedule to make up for lesson time lost in strikes.
Some 22,000 Palestinians work in Israeli settlements in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and service industries with another estimated 10,000 working informally. In 2010 it was reported that the Palestinian Authorities (PA) announced a ban prohibiting Palestinians from working in West Bank settlements as part of a wider campaign that included a national boycott boycott A collective refusal to buy or use the goods or services of an employer to express disapproval with its practices. Primary boycotts are used to put direct pressure on an employer, while a secondary boycott involves the refusal to deal with a neutral employer with the view of dissuading it from patronising the target employer. of settlements. However, the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) stated that they would not stop workers from working in settlements until the PA could provide alternative employment.
Palestinians working in these areas were employed under Jordanian labour law until 2007 when a court ruled that Israeli law applied equally to both Israeli and Palestinian workers, thus affording Palestinians the same conditions. However, the law is not often enforced, is poorly monitored and in the event of abuse, it is very difficult for Palestinian workers to obtain redress and take a case to court. In many instances employers continue to pay Palestinian workers less than the Israeli minimum wage, and they work in poor health and safety conditions. While the legal minimum wage in Israel is approximately USD 5.50 an hour, Palestinians in settlements earn USD 2 an hour or less. Increasingly children are also found working in settlements, often in construction with poor safety conditions and no insurance.
Women workers receive some 60% of the wages of their male counterparts, and wages are the lowest in sectors that are predominantly female, such as agriculture and services. Security issues, legislative discrimination and cultural issues deter more women from entering the labour force. Women make up less than 15% of employees in the Palestinian labour market according to the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), and most of them are unorganised.