United Services Union members call on executive to support ceasefire for Palestine

November 25, 2023
Healthcare Workers for Palestine at a rally in Gadi/Sydney. Photo: Paula Sanchez

While the NSW United Services Union (USU) Executive condemned “the rising conflict and suffering taking place in the Middle East” on November 6, it has not called for a ceasefire, as the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Services Union and many others have.

The USU executive sent a text message to members on October 19 disavowing those who had signed a petition in solidarity with Palestine, an initiative of NSW members of the National Tertiary Education Union.

“Members who choose to sign this petition do so independently of the Union,” the text read.

USU members who support their union taking a stronger position in support of Palestine, met at the Maritime Union of Australia offices in Gadi/Sydney and online on November 23.

They agreed to publish an open letter calling on the USU Executive to:

  • Endorse the Trade Unionists for Palestine statement calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza, the illegal occupation, apartheid and ethnic cleansing;
  • Condemn Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Premier Chris Minns’ support for Israel and demand they join calls for a lasting ceasefire;
  • Support members’ involvement in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign and email members about upcoming rallies, joining the union contingent and supplying flags for rallies;
  • Donate $7000 to the Australian Palestine Advocacy Network; and
  • Condemn the NSW police targeting of peaceful protesters, including the violent arrests at Port Botany on November 21.

They also agreed to petition the USU Executive, under rule 62(d), to review the it’s decision on November 6 not to call for a ceasefire and an end to the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.

[Graham Matthews is a member of the USU. For more information, visit USU members stand with Palestine on Facebook and Instagram.]

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