Police have taken an interest in the workings of the independent Israeli union WAC-MAAN after a global protest campaign was launched by LabourStart.
Assaf Adiv, the leader of WAC-MAAN, was taken to a police station and closely questioned over his activities on behalf of Palestinian workers in a West Bank settlement factory.
“They were suspicious of my role as chairperson of the union and my involvement in creating the global protest campaign,” Assaf Adiv explained.
“The campaign was organized to oppose the dismissal and persecution of Palestinian workers committee chairman Hatem Abuzeadeh in the Zarfaty Garage West Bank settlement. “
WAC- MAAN has now written to the Israeli Attorney General asking him to put an end to police involvement in a the labor dispute at Zarfaty garage in Mishor Adumim, a West Bank settlement east of Jerusalem.
The union’s lawyers wrote to the Attorney-General after Assaf Adiv’s questioning by police For his involvement in organizing for the rights of Palestinian workers.
The LabourStart campaign in August 2014 protested that police had framed the local Palestinian union activist Hatem Abuzeadeh at the instigation of the owner of the Zarfaty Garage. The campaign demanded Hatem Abuzeadeh be reinstated.
“They framed him claiming he was a terrorist who had planned to sabotage the Israeli military work which the Zarfaty Garage had been contracted to complete by the occupation army,” Assaf Adiv said.
The LabourStart campaign delivered more than 8000 protest messages against the framing of a good union activist who had worked for decades at the Zarfaty Garage without complaint.
The police interrogated Assaf Adiv after the CEO of Zarfaty filed a complaint against the union leader – charging him with the disruption of the CEO’s email in-tray.
“The accusation leveled against me was that I was involved in harassment of the personal email address of the CEO of the company, an act that seems to be a criminal offense,” Assaf Adiv said.
The WAC MAAN union leader rejected the accusations and protested the questioning by the Police.
Assaf Adiv denied the charge of harassing the Garage CEO, and argued that it is not the concern of the police to intervene in a dispute between management and the workers and their union.
“The intimidatory practices and the terror tactics of the Garage owner against the workers organization are what should be seen as illegitimate and should be looked into and stopped,” Assaf Adiv told the police interrogating him.
Adiv reminded the police of a similar attempt by the same company to criminalise the Chairman of the workers committee Hatem Abuziadeh.
“That failed when the criminal investigation that was triggered by the boss collapsed because of a lack of evidence.
“It was simply a false complaint by the Garage managers as a tactic in a long running industrial dispute,” Assaf Adiv said.
“The police investigation of WAC MAAN’s leader should be seen as a very dangerous precedent for freedom of association in Israel.
“WAC-MAAN made it clear that it is not going to retreat or give up the right to organiseALL workers, including Palestinian workers who are employed in the Settlements.
“We plan to continue with our mission to defend all workers regardless of their national or religious affiliation or the colour of their skin,” Assaf Adiv the chairperson of WAC-MAAN said.