An ITF team has been to Palestine to evaluate the progress of a major project to strengthen the Palestine General Transport Workers Union, supported by Union to Union.
In the first two years of the project, workplace organisers were trained and a number of bus and taxi stations were successfully targeted.
The ITF team met with drivers in one Ramallah bus station in which organisers have pushed union membership up from 20 to 70 percent in the last six months, and set up a workers’ committee for the first time. They are about to launch a strike later this month to force the town council to improve rest and toilet facilities.
In the same period, the ITF's work with truck drivers using the freight terminals at the Israeli wall has progressed from setting up rest facilities in one back-to-back terminal at Irtah, to establishing workers’ committees at four back-to-back terminals.
In Jenin the union has also converted a freight container into a drivers’ waiting room and union office right by the terminal entrance. Union membership has risen from virtually zero to 70 out of 200 drivers who use the terminal.
In 2020 more bus and taxi stations will be targeted and workers’ committees established. Truck drivers will recruit and organise more union members at the back-to-back terminals, and the committees covering the four terminals aim to organise a co-ordinated campaign to improve their conditions.
Furthermore, as new members join, the union is ensuring that it can both collect dues and communicate with members more effectively by setting up a centralised electronic membership database.