Yesterday, April 5, 2016, the National Labor Court, sitting as a threesome, unanimously denied an appeal made by the owners of Zarfati garage against a decision of the Regional Court from February 17th .As a result, the garage must return the head of the WAC MAAN Workers Committee, Hatem Abu Ziadeh, to his job without delay. The judges wrote: “After checking the claims of both sides in the appeal, including the material in the case, we find no reason to interfere with the factual findings of the Regional Court. Accordingly the appeal is rejected.”
The Zarfati Garage had appealed a decision by Justice Eyal Avrahami, Chief Judge of the Regional Labor Court in Jerusalem. Avrahami determined that the dismissal of Abu Ziadeh was illegal, because it was not based on any real claim regarding the workers behavior at work and thus was clearly an attempt to stop his function as a labor leader. The attempt by the garage to incriminate Abu Ziadeh, which included a complaint to the police, was termed by the judge “a phony contrivance.” Now that the Zarfati appeal has been rejected, the garage must receive him for work immediately.
It should mentioned that in the verdict of the Regional Court of Feb.17th judge Avrahami harshly criticized the employer, who had come up with various reasons for the dismissal in an attempt to hide the real reason, which is Ziadeh’s central role in organizing as head of the Workers’ Committee. “Even after his dismissal Hatem Abu Ziadeh was and remains the cornerstone in organizing the workers at the garage”
The court also ruled that the employer had tried to “blacken Hatem’s image and undermine his legitimacy” in the eyes of the court, among other things by accusing him of sabotaging a military car while it was on repair in the garage. This accusation and many others were found to be without material ground and Zarfati owners’ continuous attempt to frame up the worker just hurt their credibility.
The justices of the National Court in this case were its Vice President, Justice Varda Wirthe Livne, Justice Leah Glicksman, and Justice Ilan Itach. They posed many questions to the advocate of the garage owners and attempted to persuade them to accept by consent the return the Committee head to his job, but they encountered a total refusal.
The National Director of WAC-MAAN, Assaf Adiv, said during the proceedings that his organization seeks to reach a collective agreement with the Zarfati Garage, and that for a long period it acted in cooperation with the Garage management. “Hatem Abu Ziadeh was the driving force of the Workers Committee, and as long as he was not re-instated, the workers felt under threat. When he returns to his job, we’ll be able to open a new page for the good of both the workers and the garage.” WAC-MAAN was represented by Attorneys Moran Savorai and Amir Basha.
In response to the decision, Abu Ziadeh said: “I am very happy, because the decision is just. A great many workers have phoned to congratulate me. They see the decision not just as my personal accomplishment, but also as an achievement for them and WAC-MAAN. ”
The Regional Court is slated soon to complete its decision and to ascertain the amount of damages that Abu Ziadeh will receive for the 20 months that the Garage refused to employ him, as well as the compensation to WAC-MAAN for the interference with its right to organize. The latter could amount to as much as NIS 200,000.