[:en]140 workers start 4-day strike at “Yehuda Fences” in Ashdod [:]

[:en]Dozens of workers came to the strike picket line this morning (November 1st) at the entrance to Yehuda Steel Fences in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod. The workers held signs demanding negotiations towards a collective agreement with WAC-MAAN, including workers’ rights. Some 140 have been on strike since the morning both at Yehuda Fences and the steel-rolling plant Sigma, both of which belong to “Yehuda Steel. Ltd”.

Yesterday, behind WAC-MAAN’s back, the management distributed a letter to all employees, including a special letter to Action Committee member Yitzhak Sebach. The company claimed that the planned strike was illegal and threatened that the striking workers would lose thousands of shekels in wages. Additionally, the company’s representative, Atty. Orly Gerby from Herzog Fox & Neeman, sent a letter to WAC-MAAN’s legal advisor, Atty. Aya Bartenstein, reiterating the false claim that the strike would be illegal, as well as making baseless claims against the workers and the Workers’ Action Committee, which, Gerby claimed, was acting against the law.

Dudi Tzamir, Action Committee member, responded:

Dudi Tzamir, Action Committee member
Dudi Tzamir, Action Committee member

“The management’s letter is a string of lies. Nobody from the Workers’ Committee has spoken with contractors or threatened them. We have no connection with them, and nobody has threatened the workers in order to make them strike. On the contrary – the workers pressured the Committee to call a strike, while the company illegally threatened some workers to make them withdraw their membership in WAC-MAAN. We have recordings of these kinds of conversations, and we have told the managers involved that this is illegal. The company’s attitude towards the workers is what led to the strike. We work more and earn less, and the workers are no longer willing to accept this situation. In the past, bonus payments [“premia”] made up 60-70% of our wage, but in recent years this has fallen to 20-25%. In the past we worked 250 hours a month to get 6,000-7,000 shekels, now we need to work 270 and barely even make this amount. If a worker doesn’t come to work or refuses to put in additional hours, they deduct 25% of the bonus payment for the month, and the company intends to withhold bonus payments this month because of the strike. But this won’t help it – we are together in this struggle, until we get a collective agreement.”

The company’s claims that WAC-MAAN is not the representative workers’ organization is false. It must be noted that during the struggle, the management of Yehuda Fences repeatedly changed the reason it had given for refusing to negotiate towards a collective agreement. At first, it refused to respond to WAC-MAAN. Then it claimed that WAC-MAAN did not represent the requisite one-third of workers in the Yehuda Still Fences Company. When it was proved that 120 of 140 workers had joined WAC-MAAN, it claimed that the basic bargaining unit was not the company that WAC-MAAN organized but the entire Yehuda Group, which includes three subsidiaries. It must also be noted that as required by law, a labor dispute was declared 15 days before the warning strike, which was held on 9 Oct.

The background to the dispute:

The struggle at Yehuda Fences and Sigma comes after a period of worsening employment terms, reduction in peripheral benefits and wage erosion. Work at Yehuda Fences is hard physical labor around the clock in three shifts. Workers labor in open areas, enduring high temperatures in the summer and cold in the winter. Wages consist of a basic wage of not much more than the legal minimum, with bonus payments (“premiot”) paid to some workers arbitrarily and without transparency. Last year, the management reduced bonus payments and cancelled the yearly bonus as well as the holiday gifts which workers in Israel customarily receive from employers.

It must be noted that Yehuda Fences is one of Israel’s leading companies in the production of welded mesh, construction and other steel products.

Workers Picket on November 1st at the entrance of Yehuda Steel Fences in Ashdod
Workers Picket on November 1st at the entrance of Yehuda Steel Fences in Ashdod

[:]

MORE...

The East Jerusalem Project

Severe employment crisis in East Jerusalem ahead of Ramadan

On the eve of Ramadan, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are facing an economic and social crisis exacerbated by a 7.6 per cent increase in unemployment since the outbreak of the war. Despite the crisis, the government is severely undermining its own five-year plan for East Jerusalem. MAAN Workers Association (hence MAAN) calls on the mayor and the incoming city council to secure budgets to reduce socio-economic gaps in the city.

READ MORE »
Palestinian Workers

MAAN and Kav Laoved write to Immigration and Population Authority and demand to reserve a place in the quota for Palestinian workers with a permit who resigned/fired during the “Iron Swords” war

The two workers’ rights groups wrote on Feb. 13 to Mr. Moshe Nakash the head of the Immigration and Population Authority and demanded that special measures will be taken to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian workers and also to enable Israeli employers to overcome the crisis and keep their experienced workers.

READ MORE »
Palestinian Workers

The War in Gaza Brings Severe Poverty and Despair to the West Bank

Journalist Hagar Sheizaf of Haaretz collaborated with MAAN to give a compelling presentation on the dire situation of Palestinian workers out of work for four months due to the war. Sheizaf quotes Assaf Adiv, MAAN’s Executive Director and also workers affiliated with MAAN who worked in Israel for dozens of years. These workers bare no responsibility for the October 7 terrorist attack, yet they pay the price. All of them demand to go back to their work places in Israel for the benefit of all.

READ MORE »

אנא כתבו את שמכם המלא, טלפון ותיאור קצר של נושא הפנייה, ונציג\ה של מען יחזרו אליכם בהקדם האפשרי.

رجاءً اكتبوا اسمكم الكامل، الهاتف، ووصف قصير حول موضوع توجهكم، ومندوب عن نقابة معًا سيعاود الاتصال بكم لاحقًا








As an organization committed to the rights of workers without distinction of religion, race, nationality, gender, or profession - democracy is our essence. We strongly oppose the authoritarian laws that the extreme government of Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett, and Smotrich is attempting to impose.

Without democracy, there are no workers' rights, just as a workers' organization cannot exist under dictatorship.

only a victory of the democratic camp will enable a discussion on the Palestinian issue and lead to an alternative solution to occupation and apartheid while ensuring human rights and citizenship for all, Israelis and Palestinians alike. As long as the apartheid regime persists, the democratic camp will not succeed in defeating Israeli extremists. Therefore, we work to involve the Arab and Palestinian society in the protest.

We invite you:

To march with us in protests and to build an alternative, democratic, Jewish-Arab professional union in Israel. Join our quiet WhatsApp group today, "Marching with us in protest."

To join MAAN and unite workers in your workplace. Read here how to join the organization.

To follow MAAN's work on social networks.

Please write your full name, phone number, and a brief description of the subject of your inquiry, and a representative from our organization will get back to you as soon as possible.