Moncton – Postal workers from Morocco and occupied Palestine were in Moncton on September 14-16th sharing their struggles with postal workers from Atlantic Canada.
Abdallah El Ammari, a Moroccan postal worker, spoke of the need for workers around the world to come together to strategize and help each other. He recognized that business leaders and governments around the world do this, much to the detriment of workers.
Recent victories for the Moroccan postal workers include successfully stopping proposed legislation to privatize the Moroccan Post Office, achieving pay equity for rural and urban postal workers, as well as wage increases and increased unionization rates.
Yousra Badi, a Moroccan postal worker who was also part of the Canadian tour, and other Moroccan postal workers were part of the country’s landmark first International Women’s Day March this year. Their struggle for gender equality continues and their union recognizes it as a priority for action.
Habis Aburub and Roba Masri, representing the PALTEL union in Palestine, said the struggles they face are similar but they have the added oppression of the occupation of their land and the resulting collapsing economy and infrastructure.
For postal workers in Palestine, the occupation and the wall means they are limited in their mobility. Walls and military checkpoints can make a 45 minute drive from one city to another take seven hours or more and at times travel is not possible at all. Cement walls constructed by the Israeli government around cities with only two entrances means mail trucks arriving to a gate must change drivers at the city gate before entering.
Rural postal workers in Palestine are especially concerned about their personal safety as they have to leave their cities and go through Israeli settlements. Habis says that it is important to work together in solidarity, to help train each other and to explain the struggles all workers face. The main demands of their union are to achieve a minimum wage, create structures for social benefits, health insurance, safe environments and old age security.
In Palestine, unions and social movements stand in solidarity with the movement for the liberation of Palestine.
Building alliances and sharing experiences with workers around the world can only improve the condition for all workers.
“The similarities of the struggles for postal workers everywhere are clear and by sharing victories we can learn from each other,” says Toni MacAfee from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Atlantic office.
The Moroccan and Palestinian postal workers also visited Ontario and Quebec while in Canada. While in Moncton, they met with the presidents of all CUPW locals in Atlantic Canada and the NB Federation of Labour President Michel Boudreau.