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  • Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) welcomes the decision of Unite the Union, Britain’s second biggest union, to reaffirm its strong support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign for freedom and justice, in 3 motions passed at its Conference today
  • A central motion passed by the Union calls on the UK government to abandon its anti-boycott bill that seeks to limit the ability of public bodies to make ethical choices about spending and investment that reflect widespread public support for human rights, climate goals and international law
  • A further motion affirms the Union’s recognition that Israel is practising the crime of apartheid, calls for an end to the UK Government’s proposed free trade agreement with Israel, and for support for BDS campaigns against companies complicit in supporting Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land

Unite the Union, representing 1.2 million workers, has passed 3 crucial motions at its Conference today reaffirming the Union’s ongoing solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle for liberation, affirming support for the Palestinian call for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel ends its violation of Palestinian rights, and condemning the government’s anti-boycott bill which is currently at committee stage in the House of Commons.

The Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) bill seeks to limit the ability of public bodies to take ethical decisions on spending and investment. The bill is hugely controversial with critics from all parties, including Conservative, pointing to its effects on many social justice and environmental campaigns around the world.

As Unite notes in its motion, it will shield companies engaged in human rights abuse or environmental destruction by preventing public bodies from cutting financial ties with them over abusive or illegal actions committed in a foreign state, unless expressly permitted to do so by the government. And it will violate the rights of Local Government Pension Scheme members, including members of Unite the Union, preventing them from choosing how their deferred wages are invested.

Unite is one of 15 Trade Unions affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and a member of a coalition of nearly 70 Civil society organisations campaigning to defeat the anti-boycott bill.

Ben Jamal, Director of PSC, says, “At a moment when the Government’s anti-boycott bill seeks to delegitimise the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), the unanimous support of Unite the Union’s members at conference today for motions affirming support for BDS is crucial. Unite has made clear that it will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinian people and reject all efforts to delegitimise their struggle for liberation.”