The delegates, from Australia, UK, Canada and South Africa, met drivers at the ITF Palestinian truck drivers’ project at the Irtah crossing between Palestine and Israel. They spoke to them about how the project – which offers shade, a canteen and toilets at the crossing where they often experience long delays– has benefited their working lives. The ITF is currently investigating potential locations for a second project of this kind.
Youth delegate Simon Lau from Unifor, Canada which sponsors the project said: “I’ve had the opportunity to speak with drivers, speak with the project manager here and the consensus is that this project really matters to them, it not only improves their lives it also creates greater unity. This crossing has helped to recruit more members, to organise truck drivers and that creates greater solidarity. That’s what the union movement is all about.”
The delegation also met with the Palestinian Minister for Transport, the women’s committee of the Bethlehem branch of the General Union of Transport Workers’ in Palestine (GUTW), the union’s youth committee and the leadership of the Palestinian union federation the PGFTU.
Youth committee and executive board member Wala Abu Hamad said: “We have been pleased to welcome our global colleagues. We need support and education for youth in our union, we need to share our experiences with each other globally and make plans for working together in the future.”
Research and reports from the mission group will be used to help develop an ITF youth programme focusing on giving practical support to young transport workers in the region.
Unions from Canada, UK, Australia and South Africa were represented via youth delegates. They have been blogging throughout their visit. View the blog here