A Palestinian worker who collapsed during work was thrown down by the roadside by a formean in Maya Foods plant in Mishor Edumimim

On November 4th, Muhammad Abu Sneineh, a production worker in Maya Foods factory in Mishor Edomim Industrial Zone, collapsed at work due to acute pain in his back. His co-workers […]

On November 4th, Muhammad Abu Sneineh, a production worker in Maya Foods factory in Mishor Edomim Industrial Zone, collapsed at work due to acute pain in his back. His co-workers tried to help him stand up, but when they realised that he was unable to move, they alerted the plant managers and demanded an ambulance be called to the site. In response, the division head told them that the worker was suffering from medical problems that were unrelated to the plant, and therefore he should go home and come back to work when he’s recovered. The same executive also asserted that “in a few minutes he’s going to feel better and able to go back to work.”

When this did not happen, the division head with an assistant finally drove the worker in his car to the barrier at the entry of Mishor Edumim Industrial Zone (Area C). There he stopped the car and instructed Abu Sneineh to get out, but, Abu Sneina was feeling ill and explained that he could not get out because of the pain.

In his testimony, given a few days later, he described the event: “In response, the division head and his assistant began to shout at me in Hebrew, and I didn’t understand what they were saying exactly. A minute later, the assistant got out of the car, opened the door next to my seat and ordered me to get out. When I kept sitting, he grabbed my hand forcefully, and dragged me out, leaving me laid on the sidewalk at the entry to the Mishor Edumim Gaz station. I saw the division head’s car turning round and heading back to the plant, ignoring my situation.”

Fortunately for Abu Sneineh, a few minutes later some Palestinians noticed him laid on the pavement as they drove by. They took him in their car to a clinic in the A-Ram north of Jerusalem, and paid his medical bill. Abu Sneineh does not know who are the kind people who helped him, but he is deeply grateful to them.

WAC-MAAN has approached Maya Foods regarding the issue, but they failed to respond. In our letter, we referred to previous incidents where the company had sent home unaccompanied workers who have been injured at work, or in serious medical conditions, and did not pay them for sick leave payments as due by law. Such conduct constitutes a violation of Sick Pay Law (1976), as well as an apparent violation of the Israeli version of The Good Samaritan Law (1998) (titled “Thou shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor”).

Last August, the workers of Maya Foods have unionized under WAC-MAAN, demanding to put an end to the harsh working conditions, inhumane treatment and lack of lawful compensation for extra working hours. Although three months have passed since the unionization announcement, the plant management team persists in its refusal to negotiate with WAC. A court decision in the case is expected shortly. WAC and the courageous Maha Foods workers are determined to continue in their struggle for workers’ rights, dignity and wellbeing.

אודות Assaf Adiv