Organized by WAC, excavators from all over the country demonstrated in Jaffa in protest of their arbitrary layoff by Brick, through which they were hired for the Antiquities Authority for years.
Dozens of Brick employees working at the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA), who were dismissed recently, demonstrated in Jaffa on June 16, demanding that they be reinstated as fully-fledged employees of the IAA. The workers, Jews and Arabs from East Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Kiryat Gat, Ashkelon, Wadi Ara and the Galilee, among whom former Russian and Ethiopian immigrants, worked for years at excavation sites of the IAA via Brick, a manpower contractor. Following the Amendment to the Law on Manpower Contractors (2001) in effect as of January 2008, the IAA was obliged to absorb every worker with a term of 9 months of work and higher, as fully-fledged employee.
Nonetheless, instead of implementing the law Brick has dismissed them arbitrarily while recruiting new workers, who will undoubtedly be fired as well after 9 months of work.
Danny Ben Simhon, WAC’s field coordinator, noted that “In light of testimonies by the workers, abusive employment practices and recurrent layoff were unveiled, for the sole purpose of circumventing the provision of social benefits as set by law. Both the workers and WAC will not put up with a situation where a government body (the IAA) treats its workers with such disgrace instead of being a role model to other institutions. With a scientific mission statement and government funding, the obligation to ensure that its workers receive all their legal rights, lies with the IAA”.
Assaf Adiv, CEO of WAC, observed that “What matters in this case is that dozens of employees have overcome the hurdle of fear and joined WAC in calling for the IAA to implement the law and hire them directly”.
Benjamin Arka from Kiryat Gat, who worked for the IAA for 5 years, said that “We are sick and tired of being in limbo; starting from 2004 up until today we have been working at Brick for the IAA, fired over and over again and then reinstated. We were told to stay home one day, yet that single day became a week and even more”.
Rachel Ben Ezra from Holon, who has worked for the IAA for 6 years, said that “At Brick they thought they could fool us and always deducted from our salaries, for the sole purpose of not paying us what we deserve. Many of the workers were on the verge of hunger; some had no choice but to eat at soup kitchens”.
Several musicians and poets took part in the demonstration, including Yudit Shahar, Matti Shmuelof, Yoel Ben Simhon, Danny Schwartz and Eitan Kilinsky.
Israel’s Channel 1 aired an article on the demonstration on its evening news edition; to view the article click here, choose “Mabat” and then skip to the 28.30 minute.
For further info contact Danny Ben Simhon at 050-4330039 or
Nir Nader, at 050-6839443
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