Solidarity without Borders: WAC MAAN’s Labor Day in Jerusalem

The people at “Wings” appreciate this approach, particularly in light of the bad winds blowing through the country. Uri concluded “We hope “Wings” guides joining WAC will broaden solidarity, to...

Artist Galia Uri – a guide in Wings Association

The people at “Wings” appreciate this approach, particularly in light of the bad winds blowing through the country. Uri concluded “We hope “Wings” guides joining WAC will broaden solidarity, to include those who find it difficult to make their voice heard, for whom each day brings great pain and struggle but also beauty.”

Atty. Amir Basha and his partners Atty. Moran Savorai and Atty. Gilad Zbideh work closely with WAC and it’s lawyer Atty. Aya Bartenstein. Basha spoke about the long and complex Zarfati case, which took hundreds of hours to handle. “In the 15 years I’ve worked as a labor lawyer, I have never seen a case in which the employer began with such a negative attitude – firing the workers’ committee head, accusing him of criminal acts, submitting complaints with the police about WAC and its lawyer – and ultimately ending with the understanding that there’s no other way than cooperation and agreement,” Basha also said he had joined WAC, and will be paying his dues, an announcement which was greeted with thunderous applause.

Atty. Amir Basha – led the legal struggle to reach the Zarfaty Collective Agreement

Kiki Keren Hos, music teacher at Jerusalem’s Musrara College, has been an activist at the workers’ committee there for seven years. She described how lately the administrative staff joined WAC, and the teachers’ steadfast support of them in their struggle. “A few years ago, together with other artists, I met Wafa Tiara and agricultural laborers from WAC’s office in Baqa al-Garabiyeh. One summer day we sat and talked, and it quickly became clear that despite our differences, we had a lot in common, and what brought us together was greater than what separated us, when our rights and freedoms cannot be taken for granted,” she said.

Ala Khatib, Kav Laoved director, focused on the struggle against work accidents in construction, in which Kav Laoved is working with WAC after particularly bad years in this field: in 2016, there were 48 fatalities and since the beginning of 2017, 11 workers have already lost their lives in construction. Khatib noted that the government refuses to invest in supervision and training to reduce such accidents, and that its decision to permit the employment of thousands of Chinese workers in this industry is liable to make the situation even worse.

WAC director Assaf Adiv closed the event emphasizing WAC’s unique character as an organization which crosses borders and walls, and said he is proud of the fact that it was the only workers’ organization in Israel that unequivocally stands by Palestinian workers against the occupation.

Assaf Adiv – WAC’s General Director

“We don’t buy empty slogans. The creation of a popular workers’ movement, both on the Palestinian side and on the Israeli side, is our answer to anyone who says peace cannot be made between the nations. After the failure of the Oslo Accords, which merely oiled the wheels of corruption and polarized the situation between the sides, we offer a new path for the coming together of progressive forces among the nations of the region. Therefore we identify with all our hearts with the aspirations of the region’s peoples, especially the people of Syria, to freedom and an end to the bloodthirsty dictatorship of the Assad family.

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