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CUPE international staff met with an executive member of the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) on June 3 to discuss areas of mutual interest that could be addressed through global justice projects.

Workplace health and safety, advice on legal matters, literacy and gender equality are major concerns for Palestinian workers, Manawell Abdul-Al said. He is especially concerned that Palestinians working in Israel do not have trade union protection or know their legal rights.

Many workers do not receive information or training in workplace health and safety, he said. There is no workplace hazardous materials guide. And they often are not supplied with safety equipment such as masks and goggles.

The general rate of unemployment runs at about 35 per cent. Of those that are working, about 14 per cent are female, he said. “It is those women working in agriculture who are among the workers that could benefit from literacy training.”

The PGFTU shares CUPE’s concern that more women need to rise to top leadership positions in the union, Abdul-Al said, adding that a women’s department gets financial support from a Danish union.