On Saturday, May 16th, Assaf Adiv, Director of the independent trade union centre WAC-MAAN sent a fax to the directors of the Home for Youth at Risk Izdihar in Tamra, notifying them that 10 of the home’s 24 workers have joined WAC-MAAN, and that it has consequently become their representative organization. This requires the management of “Izdihar” to open negotiations towards a collective agreement with the union. Adiv offered to hold a meeting as soon as possible in order to get acquainted and clarify WAC-MAAN’s legal framework for this collective agreement.
This home looks after 50 children and youth under 18 of the Arab sector. All Izdihar’s workers are residents of Tamra, among them social workers, teachers, sports instructors, counselors, general and kitchen workers.
The workers turned to WAC-MAAN in order to regulate their employment conditions – among other complaints the say that their real working hours are not registered, workers employed on elections day have not been paid, and they lack criteria for promotion. University and college graduates employed as teachers and counselors in the home are not remunerated according to their education and training.
In addition, frequent complaints are lodged against them for violent behavior, and they are exposed to police investigations and superfluous police records, without any protection of the welfare authorities. It must be noted that this happens often at homes for people with special needs – there is no apparatus to differentiate fake from real complaints, even prior to passing cases on to the police.
The workers aim to organize their employment legally, improve their salary and tenure procedures, and solve legal and administrative problems.
Tens of thousands of young Arab men and women employed in Arab localities suffer from exploitative practices from local employers including nonpayment of minimum wage, illegal pay slips, nonpayment for extra hours and lack of social benefits like sick payments, paid vacations and pensions.
The unionizing of Izdihar workers puts the need to regulate working conditions and salaries inside Arab localities – a problem that so far has not received proper attention.
Translation – Tal Haran