For immediate release
On the occasion of May Day 2018, Palestinian workers express demands for the realization of their right to work and just and favorable conditions of work
Ramallah 3/05/2018 – On the occasion of the International Workers’ Day, the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine organized collective events on 30/04/2018 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, giving workers a space to express their demands for realizing their basic rights, among them the right to work, the right to just and favorable conditions of work, freedom of association and the right to organize, and freedom of opinion and expression.
These collective events included a festival on workers’ human rights under the motto “Freedom, Democracy and Social Justice” organized in Gaza’s harbor, which was attended by 650 female and male workers and their children, unemployed young graduates, and representatives of women and human rights organizations. The festival highlighted the social consequences of workers’ deprival from realizing their right to work, which renders them unable to ensure a decent life for their children, in a context of increasing unemployment rates, which reached an unprecedented level of 43.6% in 2017 due to the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip for the past 11 years.
During the festival, workers and their children expressed how their rights and lives are affected by the difficult situation in the Gaza Strip through a series of activities, including poetry, drawing of paintings, theatrical presentation, and writing workers’ wishes and aspirations on messages attached to balloons released in the air. Workers also wrote their demands on a mural, asking for the implementation of all labor rights, and the need to review laws and policies, develop some of their aspects, and commit to their implementation.
During the festival, Nidal Ghaben, DWRC’s Gaza branch director, said: "This activity took an unconventional approach to mark May Day, in an attempt to draw a smile on children’s faces and give some hope to the people in the Gaza Strip", adding that “Concerned local, regional and international parties should combine their efforts towards improving the conditions in the Gaza Strip, ending the political division and the deterioration of living conditions, and we hope that next year will be better”.
In Ramallah, union representatives and workers affected by violations of their rights took part in a march to the Palestinian Legislative Council, where they also wrote their demands for the realization of their rights on a mural, asking for decent work and decent life, job security, the implementation of the minimum wage, the adoption of the law on union organizing, the implementation of the social security law, as well as other basic rights.
These collective events aimed at enabling workers to express their rights-based demands as part of the project “Enhancing Rights and Freedoms of Palestinian Workers” implemented by the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center (DWRC), in cooperation with the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD) and COSPE, and funded by the European Union.