12 trade unions and CBOs obtain small grants for implementing awareness-raising, organizing and advocacy activities through EU-funded project
Ramallah- On Wednesday 01/03/2017, the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center held a kick-off meeting in its Ramallah and Gaza offices for recipients of sub-grants to trade unions and CBOs for implementing awareness-raising, organizing and advocacy activities. These sub-grants are part of the project “Enhancing Rights and Freedoms of Palestinian Workers” funded by the European Union and implemented by the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center (DWRC), Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD) and COSPE. The kick-off meeting was attended by the recipients of sub-grants, representatives from DWRC, PWWSD & COSPE and a representative on behalf of the European Union.
The sub-grant mechanism will enable 12 trade unions and CBOs in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip to implement small projects aiming at promoting and defending workers’ rights and strengthening organizing initiatives. The recipients of sub-grants are the Palestinian Postal Service Workers’ Union in the West Bank, East Gaza Association for Family Development, General Union of Health Services Workers in Gaza Strip, Nrsan Cultural Center in Yatta, Independent Labor Committees Union in Gaza Strip, Old City Youth Association in East Jerusalem, Palestinian Accountants Union in the West Bank, Kindergarten and Day-Care Centers Workers’ Union in Gaza Strip, General Union of Textile and Garment Workers in Gaza governorates, Kindergarten, Private Schools and Day-Care Employees’ Union in the West Bank, Al-Shorouq Association in Beit Ummar and Visions Association for Civil Society in Rafah. During the meeting, unionists and CBO members presented a brief about their projects and their expected impact on workers.
Mr. Hasan Barghouthi, the general director of the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center said: “workers working in the Palestinian sector suffer from many violations of their rights, such as the lack of provision of an adequate work environment and lack of respect of occupational safety and health conditions. Many workers do not obtain the minimum wage nor other labor rights such as paid vacations”. He added: “we hope that the government will support some sectors to enforce the application of the minimum wage law”.
Through their projects, sub-grant recipients will intervene with workers in various sectors, such as health, postal, garment, kindergarten sectors, other local enterprises, and workers in the Israeli labor market. The general director of Nrsan Cultural Center, Mrs. Falasteen Abu Hmeid said: “through our project “Together for enabling women workers in garment workshops to obtain their labor rights”, we will spread awareness about labor rights among garment workers, which will enable these workers to demand and claim their rights”.
Samir Amr, from the Old City Youth Association, said “Palestinian workers face many violations in Israeli establishments. Our project will raise the awareness of youth in Jerusalem about their labor rights.”
Dr. Salameh Abu Zeiter, the president of the General Union of Health Service Workers in Gaza, said: “we will focus on capacity-building, collective bargaining and trade union freedoms. We will target youth leaders and women workers to activate women’s role and their membership in the union”.
During the meeting, DWRC discussed technical and financial reporting with grant recipients, and raised their knowledge about how to write a press release, mechanisms for taking photographs and highlighting visibility.
The project “Enhancing Rights and Freedoms of Palestinian Workers” aims to contribute to ensure protection of human rights, freedom of association and assembly in Palestine; and specifically strengthening the capacity of trade unions and CBOs to defend fundamental rights and freedoms of female and male workers, and ensure abidance with international human rights law and international labor standards.