WAC MAAN stopped an employer from using pandemic as an excuse to force workers to labor around the clock

Workers at an Israeli plant which employs Palestinians in the Jerusalem region contacted WAC MAAN, September 30th, after their employer said they would have to work 24-hour shifts. The union approached the Ministry of Labour on this and the next day sent a letter to company that made it clear that shifts of 24 hours were illegal and that any attempt to enforce such shift will be rejected. The employer backed down.

Workers at the plant unionized with WAC about a year ago. One of their key demands was to end 24-hour shifts. These long shifts, apart from being illegal, lead to exhaustion and work accidents. When the worker began organizing, WAC made it clear that the plant would have to stop these shifts, and the employer indeed ended them.

Now, with the lockdown and Covid-19, the plant is trying to force workers to go back to 24-hour shifts. The notice that the workers received recently came from a foreman in the plant that said to the workers that the company was permitted to work at 24 hours shifts, because the plant is considered critical during the pandemic. The foreman’s announcement included a threat that those who refused may find themselves without a job.

In response, on 1 Oct., WAC Executive Director, Assaf Adiv, contacted Adv. Shiri Lev-Ran Lavi, commissioner on Foreign & Palestinian Workers’ Labor Rights at the Ministry of Labor, to ask if this plant or any other company was permitted such shifts as the employer claimed. The commissioner clarified that no employer is permitted 24-hour shifts, and that if a complaint were to be submitted, the Labor Ministry would ensure the law be enforced. WAC passed this message on to the plant management, which backed down from its intention to impose 24-hour shifts.

Following WAC’s query, the Labor Ministry issued a notice later that day to reiterate that it is forbidden to employ workers for additional hours without permission, and that any employer breaking the Hours of Work and Rest Law is liable to administrative and criminal enforcement measures.

WAC commends the rapid and unequivocal response from the Labor Ministry and the commissioner, and sees this enforcement as an important achievement for workers. WAC calls on all workers, Israeli and Palestinian, to be vigilant and to avoid accepting all notifications from the employer without question, even when the words “Covid pandemic” are used. The pandemic does not mean everything goes. WAC unionizes workers from various sectors and will assist every group of workers who contact it regarding such issues, or regarding any issue concerning employment terms and conditions.

Translation – Yonatan Preminger



The East Jerusalem Project

Solidarity across borders: residents of East and West Jerusalem work together in crisis and build the foundations of a common future

Jerusalem after October 7 is a city marked by suspicion and fear. The city economy has been hit hard, and many in both the Jewish and Palestinian communities prefer to avoid public spaces. In the immediate days after the war began, checkpoints around the city have been shut, cutting off the Palestinians living in the outskirts of the city. That would be around one third of the city’s residents who are left in a dire economic situation. Amidst this, dozens of organizations – both Jewish and Palestinian – begun working to provide relief. MAAN Workers Association (MAAN) joined the Jerusalem’s civilian Emergency Center, especially the branch set up for the East Jerusalem residents. Together, these organizations in both sides of the city create an enclave of sanity, bringing hope in solidarity.


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."

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