The labour movement must act now to stop genocide in Palestine.

A call to action for trade unionists everywhere, to read, sign, and use as a template. Banners and resolutions will not stop the bombs from falling.

4 min read

Stopping the flow of arms to Israel will take the collective knowledge of our whole movement.

Learn more about Trade Unionists for Palestine, including how you can get involved, here.

Unionised workers are currently directly engaged in the research and development, manufacture, and export of arms to Israel, as well as other forms of work that indirectly support and enable this. In a capitalist society, workers have very little control over what they produce and what their work enables. Nobody becomes, say, a transport worker with the ambition of furthering the flow of weapons to Israel. Many workers may not even be aware of their role in the supply chain. But ultimately, this work materially supports the genocide of Palestinians.

Last week, Palestinian trade unions issued an urgent global call to action, in which they asked workers everywhere:

  • To refuse to build weapons destined for Israel.
  • To refuse to transport weapons to Israel.
  • To pass motions in their trade union to this effect.
  • To take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege, especially if they have contracts with your institution.
  • Pressure governments to stop all military trade with Israel, and in the case of the US, funding to it.

We, the undersigned, call on trade unionists at all levels – from general secretaries and senior officials, to local branches and grassroots members – to heed this call on every point, and to take rapid action to disrupt the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people.

We note that several unions and branches have already sent donations to Palestinian medical organisations, and passed resolutions and motions in support of Palestinians. We also note the strong union presence at solidarity demonstrations. This is a great start – but our opposition cannot end there. Unless and until the Government decides to pay heed to public opinion, banners and resolutions will not stop the bombs from falling.

As this week’s Workers for a Free Palestine action shows, trade unionists are ready and willing to stand in solidarity with their Palestinian comrades. Our unions must now follow in the tradition of the Southampton dock workers, who refused to unload Japanese goods in 1937, the Rolls-Royce workers in East Kilbride who, in 1974, refused to service jet engines belonging to Pinochet’s junta, or the times when trade unionists organised their own local workers’ boycotts of apartheid South Africa (see here and here (p.4)).

There are a number of opportunities where workers might disrupt the flow of weapons to Israel, across the supply chain. Many industries participate in the arms trade: research and academia, manufacturing, engineering, logistics, transport, and service — to name but a few. Military technologies are being developed in British universities, manufactured in British factories, and transported by British logistics and transport workers. These facilities are also cleaned, administered, provisioned, refurbished, and guarded by workers, some of whom will be trade union members, as well as being part of a communications network that is staffed by unionised workers.

We therefore call on unions representing research/academia, manufacturing, engineering, logistics, transport, communications, service and all other sectors that participate — directly or indirectly — in the arms trade to:

  • direct their members to refuse to build or transport weapons destined for Israel, or to participate at any point in the supply chain for those weapons;
  • support workers who refuse to participate in the manufacture and supply of weapons destined for Israel, whether they are members or not. This should include strike funds and legal support where necessary.
  • disclose where their members are involved in research, manufacture, engineering and logistics participating in Israeli arms, so that the formulation of strategies to prevent their development, production and export may be developed, and so that moral pressure may be brought to bear on those involved;
  • cease lobbying in support of arms manufacturing in Britain.

In addition to the above, we encourage local branches and grassroots members to work together to develop and support strategies to undermine the production and transport of weapons for Israel. Workers who are not themselves involved in this supply chain, but are members of a union that includes workers who are, have a role to play here in taking action to persuade their fellow trade unionists to withdraw their labour from the Israeli war machine.

Finally, we affirm our solidarity with Palestinian workers, and the Palestinian people as a whole. The left and the labour movement in Britain must do everything it can to practically interrupt this genocide by any and all means possible.

We are still accepting signatures. Add your signature.


Tom Gann, New Socialist, Former Unite workplace rep
josie sparrow, New Socialist
Jiaqi Kang, UCU Oxford University
Em O’Keefe, BFAWU (sex workers union branch)
Aeshah Rawat, Bakers Food and Allied Workers
Toby Atkinson, University and College Union
Benjamin Stephens, TSSA
Megan, BFAWU
Jake Richardson, Greenwich Student Marxists
Allie Kerper, UCU
Goddess Calli, Sex Workers Union
Felicity Callard, University & College Union (UCU), University of Glasgow
Patrick Davies
Tomas Hermoso, Unite
Ruth Gilbert, Organiser, UNISON Scotland & Unite member
Duncan Davis, UTAW-CWU
Rosie Warren, NUJ, Verso Books, Salvage
Liam Orr, UCU
Chris Bright, Prospect Union
Ebenezer Boakye, University of Cambridge
Arron Bale, UCU
Olivia Ouwehand, Unite
Matthew Aplin
Daniel Frost, UCU
Mark Seddon, Unite
Katie Nelson, Unite, UVW
Adam Peggs, National Union of Journalists
Steffan Blayney, Unite member
Martin Watters, Unite LE524
Alex Fuller
Mark Allen, Bectu
George Evane, Prospect
Quinn Gibson, UCU
Ross Holloway, UTAW Union
Connor U, CWU
Paul Barrow, GMB
Mark Temple, Unite
Anna Stavrianakis, UCU
Alfie Hancox, UCU
Berwyn Mure, UCU
Erin Horak, UCU
Clair Quentin, UCU
Ross Clark, UTAW-CWU
Jude Wanga, Unite
Tom Williams, NEU
Maeve Carey, Nasuwt
Thomas Wilkinson, USDAW
Peter Hill, UCU
Nicholas Stamper, Unison
Gargi Bhattacharyya, UCU
Chris Timms, Union Rep
Felicity Callard, UCU
Jonathan Rimmer, Vice Chair, NUJ Glasgow. Branch Committee Member, GMB Scottish Parliament Branch
Paul Doran, Unite member
Selina Travism, Unite
Roisin Fletcher, BECTU
Adam Dodd, NEU
Shivakaran Sivanathan, Unite
Tom Price, Unite


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The New Socialist editorial collective.