WORKERS across Glasgow’s hospitality sector are being encouraged to boycott produce from companies complicit in Israeli “apartheid” against Palestinians.

Unite Hospitality Glasgow has launched the Serve Solidarity, Boycott Apartheid campaign which aims to support worker-led boycotts of PepsiCo products and Israeli fresh produce, including fruit and veg, following Israel's bombardment of Gaza.

In its first few weeks, the campaign has already recorded a major success with The Stand Comedy Club becoming the first venue in the city to become a certified supporter. Venues in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle are now not selling Pepsi products on draught or Israeli fresh produce, such as lemons and limes.

PepsiCo – and specifically its subsidiary Israel-based brand Sodastream – is one of the firms the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement has listed as being actively complicit in Israel’s policy of “displacing the indigenous Bedouin-Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Negev” and has “a long history of racial discrimination against Palestinian workers”.

READ MORE: Gaza latest: Israel and Hamas agree to extend truce for a further day

The BDS movement works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

Nick Troy, chair of Unite Hospitality Glasgow, said the branch was inspired by the action of Rolls Royce workers in East Kilbride during the 1970s when they refused to repair Chilean Air Force parts due to the atrocities carried out in the country by the Pinochet dictatorship.

He told The National: “Within our branch we’re trying to be more active politically, beyond workplace disputes.

“We’re aware that for the most part our membership is very much pro-Palestine against the genocide so it’s a way of trying to build something sustainable.

“The aim is to blacklist BDS listed products from Glasgow’s social and cultural spaces. We’re looking at worker-led boycotts but we are happy to work with employers.

“We’ve already had our first success at The Stand. The workers there led a boycott and The Stand has now agreed to roll that boycott out across all three of its venues, so they won’t be using PepsiCo products and they won’t be using any Israeli fruit or fresh produce.”

The National:

Although The Stand is so far the only business to be officially certified, there are several other workers in and around the city centre showing an interest and working out how they can escalate their concerns to management.

The branch represents more than 2000 hospitality workers who Troy said feel “strongly” about the historic atrocities being carried out by Israel.

With restaurants, cafes and bars an everyday part of people’s lives, Troy felt that the sector had a unique opportunity to take tangible action people would take notice of.

He insisted hospitality workers needed something they could do to take a stand against Israel’s historic treatment of Palestinians beyond marches and protests.

“Working people can protest, can write to their MPs, but we can see those avenues are narrowing,” said Troy.

“We’ve had millions marching over the last six weeks and the Westminster government won’t back a ceasefire. People write to their MPs all the time sometimes getting atrocious responses, all the while people are being slaughtered.

READ MORE: What the media isn't telling you about the Israel-Hamas war

“As much as we might not have the same level of material impact as other industries, we do think it’s important we impact in the way we can.

“Hospitality has a unique role in that everyone goes to a restaurant or a coffee shop at some point whereas you can live your whole life without seeing a weapons factory.

“We have a cultural and social role I think. If people are walking into pubs and seeing our literature saying this pub is solidarity certified, that can have an impact.”

For those looking to get involved, the branch is advising workers to write to management about boycotting produce as a first step.

“Workers are the ones making the decisions,” added Troy.

“One of the first things we’re advising is for workers to write to the management about it. If managers and owners are not on board, the workers can still say we refuse to handle these products.

“We have workers in several places where people are escalating it.

“History will be unforgiving with people that refuse to take action on these issues and are complicit in what is a genocide, that’s what the UN is referring to it as.

“I think if people want to continue making money from it, they have blood on their hands and Glasgow has an opportunity here, workers and employers, to come directly to us and be part of our campaign.”

To find out more about the campaign, email or get in touch via this form.