A brief ruling by the Israeli National Labor Court on April 21, 2015, presided over by Judges Yigal Flitman (Court President), SigalMotolaDavidov and Moshe Twina, established that WAC-MAAN is the representative workers’ union at Zarfati Garage, which employs Palestinian workers in the settlement industrial zone of MishorAdumim. The verdict maintained the validity ofa previous Regional Court ruling in the case of WAC-MAAN vs. Zarfati. Thisearlier ruling, by Judge Sarah BreunerIsrazda on December 28, 2014, established that WAC-MAAN is the representative union at Zarfati. However, Justice Breuner did not overrule Zarfati’s dismissal of Workers’ Committee Chairperson Hatem Abu-Ziadeh. Appealingto the National Court against herdecision on the status of WAC-MAAN, Zarfati claimed that it is not a legitimate union but rather a political organization opposing the Occupation and acting to damage Israeli employers in MishorAdumim. This accusation was rejected by the National Labor Court.
As for the dismissal of Hatem Abu-Ziadeh, the National Court commissionedJudge EyalAvrahami of theRegional Labor Court to include the matter in a review of the entire case on May 12.It directed that all claims appearing in the previous ruling (by Judge Israzda) should be ignored. This part of the verdict came as a positive response to the appeal of WAC-MAAN, which heldthat the Regional Court’s position on the dismissal of Abu-Ziadehwas contradictory. WAC-MAAN appealed against the attempt to frame the workers’ leader, holding that the lower court’s rulingignored the fact that Zarfati had falsely accused Abu-Ziadeh of sabotaging a military vehicle and had opened a police record against him in order to deny him a work permit.
Even after Hatem Abu-Ziadeh’spolice file was closed, and afterthe State Attorney’s announcement that there were no grounds to prevent him from returning to his job, the Zarfatiowners continued to hound him, at last firing him in February.
WAC-MAAN regards the National Labor Court’s ruling as an important achievement, since this is the first time that the supreme judicial authority for labor relations in Israel has recognizedit as a workers’ union. This recognition further legitimizes WAC-MAAN’s activity among Palestinian workers and aids the struggle to end years of exploitation.
That said, we see this gain as partial as long as the workers’ leader is kept from his job. WAC-MAAN will make no compromise in its struggle to reinstate Hatem Abu-Ziadeh at Zarfati. This is a condition for creating proper labor relations at the garage. His reinstatement will secure the right to unionize for about 30,000 Palestinian workers employed at West Bank settlements.
WAC-MAAN is represented in court by Attorneys Amir Basha and Moran Savorai of the law firm of Benny Cohen, as well as by its legal advisor, Attorney Aya Bartenstein.
WAC-MAAN will celebrate May Day at a central rally to be held in Baqa-al-Gharbiya, sponsored by Al Qasemi College and the local Mayor. The Mayday gathering that will take place onFriday, May 1, at 17:00. We shall hear spokespersons from various workers’ committees, as well as Arab and Jewish social activists and artists.
For further information please call YoavTamir, East Jerusalem Branch Secretary at WAC-MAAN +972-50-7859475