After more than four months of futile negotiations, the Independent Trade Union Centre WAC-MAAN has declared a labor dispute and strike at the haulage firm Movilei Dror, which employs some 160 truck drivers. The labor dispute comes after the management declared a break in the negotiations and unilaterally cancelled a decisive meeting scheduled for January 31, on the day of the meeting itself. The management also said it doubted WAC MAAN’s representative status.
The cancelation of the meeting is in accord with the firm’s ongoing procrastination and continuous attempts to undermine the negotiations. Movilei Dror appointed former Histadrut director-general Gadi Lotan to handle negotiations on its behalf, and Lotan made every effort to ensure the negotiations would fail. At the same time, the firm spoke to the workers directly in an attempt to stop the unionising drive. It is not surprising that just before the decisive meeting, an alternative workers’ committee appeared and called on the drivers to cancel their membership with WAC MAAN.
In the meeting which was cancelled, the management was to have presented its position regarding the drivers’ wage scale and the payment of past debts. Since last September, ten meetings have been held in which WAC demanded a wage scale based on hours worked: an hourly wage of NIS 37-42 (ca. $9–$10), according to type of vehicle and seniority, and overtime pay as required by law. This would mean putting an end to the payment system common in the trucking industry, based on a minimum wage plus bonuses, which is dependent on the arbitrary decisions of the company’s schedulers.
It must be noted that for years Movilei Dror underpaid its drivers by some NIS 1500 ($384) per month as compared to what they should have received according to the extension order for the collective agreement in the industry. It did this by reducing pension and study-fund contributions and by failing to compensate loss of ability to work, board, lodging, and other supplements. This is despite the fact that Movilei Dror is one of the largest haulage firms in Israel and works with leading companies such as Ikea, HP, ISCAR, Plastronics and L’Oreal.
WAC MAAN and the workers’ committee are determined to put an end to this situation, and to reach a collective agreement based on an hourly wage. This struggle aims to be the first step in changing the situation for all truckers in Israel, whose rights and dignity are daily violated.
For further details, contact WAC-MAAN spokesperson Michal Schwarz: +972-50-4330067.
– Translated from the Hebrew by Yonatan Preminger