WAC Maan declares an industrial dispute in a food factory in Upper Nazareth

<p>On March 13, 2013 the independent trade union, WAC-Maan, declared an industrial dispute at "Jana Beverages Industries LTD" which produces light beverages. The factory is located in upper Nazareth's industrial zone.</p>

janaOn March 13, 2013 the independent trade union, WAC-Maan, declared an industrial dispute at “Jana Beverages Industries LTD” which produces light beverages. The factory is located in upper Nazareth’s industrial zone.

Factory employees, numbering 25 Jews and Arabs, most of whom are paid minimum wage, turned to WAC-MAAN in 2012 after discovering that pension money which was deducted from their wages since 2008 went to the employer’s pocket instead of their pension schemes, an act which appears to constitute a criminal offence.

It also seems that working conditions, as described by a representative of the union, are insufferable and illegal: “For 12 hours’ work there’s one break. The bathroom is dirty, the warehouse serves both as an eating space and a dressing room. Safety is impaired, the roof is leaky, there’s neither heating in the winter nor cooling in the summer. The place is dark and the noise is deafening.”

It also appears that the factory does not pay in a regular legal way seniority, legal sick days or holidays. Convalescence days are paid irregularly and arbitrarily.

As mentioned, last June the workers organized with WAC-MAAN and formed a local workers committee. With the start of negotiations, in July 2012, the factory management declared its intention to abide by the law, contribute to a pension scheme, compensate the workers for money entitled to them, and improve physical and safety conditions in the factory. However, since the beginning of negotiations the management has held only three meetings, and since the last meeting, which was stopped one-sidedly by management, no additional date has been set.

WAC Maan and the workers felt that management was dragging its feet in the negotiations, trying to buy time in order to drive the workers to despair and push them to give up the union.

In light of this, and after the workers committee came to agree on WAC Maan’s suggestion, on March 13, 2013, Danny Ben-Simhon, WAC’s coordinator, sent an industrial-dispute notice to the head of labor relations at the Ministry of Industry in the Northern region. According to the law, the workers and WAC will be allowed to take industrial action, including work stoppages and strikes, immediately after the Passover holiday, in order to force the factory management to hold serious and continuous negotiations and answer the worker’s rightful demands.

• Following the announcement of the industrial dispute and strong press coverage in the Arabic and Hebrew press the management agreed to set up 4 meetings for April with aim of reaching a collective agreement on all disputed questions. In light of this WAC Maan clarified in a letter to the Company lawyer that it would not take industrial action as long as negotiations continue.

אודות Wac-Maan