dinsdag 29 november 2011

Palestijnse Vakbeweging dankt Engelse National Union!

Palestinian trade union movement salutes National Union of Rail, Maritime
and Transport Workers (RMT) London Transport Regional Council for joining
Derail Veolia and Alstom Campaign.

The Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for Boycotts, Divestment and
Sanctions (PTUC-BDS), a key member of the Palestinian BDS National
Committee (BNC), salutes the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport
Workers (RMT) London Transport Regional Council for initiating a campaign
“for Alstom to be excluded from working on projects, including London
Underground and all Alstom work and administration to be brought back in
house” over the role the company plays in building and operating the
illegal Jerusalem Light Rail, which links illegal settlements in occupied
Palestinian territory with Israel.

In London, Alstom built the current fleet of metro trains running on the
London Underground Jubilee and Northern Lines. It continues to provide
maintenance for the Northern Line fleet.  In Occupied Palestine, Alstom
helped to build and continues to a play major role in the operation of
Jerusalem Light Rail, which is explicitly designed to literally cement
Israel’s grip on the illegal settlements, tie them more firmly to the state
of Israel and facilitate their expansion.[1] The UN Human Rights Council
has condemned the project as illegal under international law.[2] Adverts
for staff for the Jerusalem Light Rail demanded applicants had completed
Israeli military service, effectively barring Palestinians from applying.[3]

The November 24 meeting of the RMT London Transport Regional Council voted
unanimously in support of a motion that targets the French multinational
for its involvement in the Jerusalem Light Rail project (full text of the
resolution below).

This motion by the RMT London Transport Regional council is a significant
next step in the escalating campaign against the company. The motion
follows an educational campaign among the membership of the union where a
public meeting on the situation in Palestine was organised and a political
bulletin was issued featuring a contribution from the PTUC-BDS.[4]

Unjum Mirza, Political Officer for London Transport Region of RMT,
explained, “Prior to this motion our Region had fully supported the
revolutionaries in Tunisia and Egypt. We sent a delegation to Egypt to
celebrate May Day in Tahrir Square and we invited Kamal Abu Aita, now
President of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, to London
to join the public sector strikes on June 30 and to address meetings across
London. At this inspiring historic revolutionary juncture, Palestine is,
for us, the obvious next link in the chain. Not only did we seek to
re-affirm our solidarity for the struggle for Palestinian liberation and
justice, we wanted to give it a renewed sense of import as *the* political
issue that centrally informs our struggles as it does in the Middle East
and North Africa region.”

Rafeef Ziadah, who was a guest speaker on behalf of PTUC-BDS at the meeting
where the motion was carried, added, “This is an important step for the
Derail Veolia and Alstom campaign and importantly serves as a model for
rank and file union campaigns that put emphasis on education within the
union, as well as moving beyond rhetorical condemnation of corporate
actions that support Israel’s illegal occupation, to active campaigning. We
look forward to working with RMT on this campaign and urge other unions to
follow suit”.

In 2008, the BNC and its partners launched the Derail Veolia and Alstom
campaign, over the two companies’ involvement in the building and operation
of the Jerusalem Light Rail. Pressure from campaigners has forced financial
institutions including the AP7 Swedish pension fund and the Dutch ASN bank
to divest from Alstom. Last month, the BNC declared a long sought-after
victory as Alstom lost the bid for the second phase of the Saudi Haramain
Railway project, worth $10 billion US dollars, after pressure from the
global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Veolia has lost
more than $12B worth of contracts following boycott activism in the UK,
Sweden, Ireland and elsewhere.


[1]Alstom provided carriages for and was formerly part of the consortium
that built the Jerusalem Light Rail and continues to own 80% of the company
that is the Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractor for the
project, and is the full owner of Citadis Israel, which has the contract
for providing maintenance for the project for 22 years.
For more on the Jerusalem Light Rail and its role in facilitating Israel’s
violations of international law, see

*Full text of motion*

Alstom-Jerusalem Light Railway:

1. To campaign for Alstom to be excluded from working on projects,
including London Underground and all Alstom work and administration to be
brought back in house, on account of its illegal and immoral involvement in
colonising the Palestinian occupied territories and build a campaign
involving the widest possible coalition of trade unions, human rights
organisations and other groups that believe in social justice.

2. To write an open letter to Alstom, asking them about the reality of JLR,
the effects it will have on the people of East Jerusalem and asking if it
is not hypocritical to involve itself in JLR while claiming to have
“ethical” employment & social policies.

3. To apply pressure to the British, London and local governments not to
allow Alstom to expand its operations in Britain while it is engaged in
JLR. The UN Human Rights Commission, has denounced the JLR project for
being “in clear violation of international law and relevant United Nations

4. To send this motion on to LTRC Exec with a request to invite Rafeef
Ziadah of the Palestine Trade Union Coalition to the November LTRC mtg, to
other branches, regional councils and the RMT AGM.

Passed Unanimously: London Transport Regional Council 24/11/11

End text of motion

*Alstom Involvement on London Underground*

Northern Line

Alstom built and maintains the 106 trains operating on London’s Northern
Line. The Northern Line is Europe’s busiest railway line, carrying over
800,000 passengers per day.

Jubilee Line

Alstom has completed fitment of new signalling technology and control on
the London Jubilee Line to increase the frequency of the trains.

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