Following a precedential verdict issued by the National Labor Court of Israel on 3/17/2013 preceded by a four years legal and organizational struggle, and after having insisted on fighting for direct employment, excavation workers, united by the Workers Advice Center (WAC-MAAN), got directly employed at the Israeli Antiquity Authority.
That is a breakthrough in the struggle for direct employment in Israel, finalizing a long period of the abuse of workers, who had been refused employment both by the Israeli Antiquity Authority and by the Brick Contractor Company for all those years, despite the Labor Court orders.
These workers’ direct employment opens a new page in the policy of excavation workers’ employment in the Israeli Antiquity Authority, most of who are still employed via contractor companies, and stands as an example for fair ad proper employment by the governmental authority in a democratic country.
Excavation workers were laid off by the contractor company Brick – Entrepreneurship and Development Ltd. four years ago in an attempt to prevent them from being employed directly by the Israel Antiquity Authority. Whereas direct employment is the right vested to those workers by the article 12a of contractor companies law, since they had been working at the same place for more than 9 months, hereby actively becoming the direct employees of the authority.
21 of the fired excavation workers united in WAC-MAAN, and began their struggle for the law enforcement, and for their direct employment, thus becoming among the first who have brought the issue of employment via contractor companies into the public agenda.
Already in March 2010 Jerusalem Labor Court presided by the Chief Justice Goldberg passed a sentence in favor of the workers. However, the Israeli Antiquity Authority refused to obey the sentence, and to employ the workers directly, appealing the decision of the regional Labor Court.
Throughout the hearing on the appeal, and in the wake of the public pressure the Israel Antiquity Authority agreed to employ directly 8 of the prosecuting workers. But today, following the verdict of the National Labor Court, which accepted all the prosecutors’ claims, the rest of the workers got employed directly by the Israeli Antiquity Authority.
Today, more than 10% of the workforce in Israel is employed via contractor companies. This way, employees are deprived of their basic social rights, and are forced into temporary and abusive employment.
The reached verdict gives a stiffer interpretation to the law, thus reinforcing the struggle against abusive employment. However, in order to stop this phenomenon from happening, the workers should unite in their work places and demand that those places will not employ their workers via contractor companies.