WAC-MAAN announces a one-day warning strike on July 29, 2020 against Green Net Garbage Recycling in Atarot Industrial Area, Jerusalem.

The Palestinian workers at Green Net Recycling are unionized with WAC-MAAN. They are protesting harsh working conditions, which include being forced to sleep at the plant during the pandemic in […]
  • The Palestinian workers at Green Net Recycling are unionized with WAC-MAAN. They are protesting harsh working conditions, which include being forced to sleep at the plant during the pandemic in demeaning conditions, as well as arbitrary dismissals, low salaries, and a reign of fear conducted by management.
  • A hundred workers took part in a protest assembly on the morning of July 29 at a coffee house beside Atarot.  
  • Abed Al-Qader, a committee member said today: „We are employed under extremely difficult conditions and no one is listening to us. We joined WAC-MAAN because we realized that only through joining the union we have a chance of changing our work circumstances. We will not allow the management to fire our friends, and we will not submit to fear!

Green Net Garbage Recycling employs about 120 Palestinians. The company is unique in treating Jerusalem’s garbage according to sound ecological principles. Its income is mostly from the Jerusalem municipality. Green Net prides itself on being ecologically sensitive and modern, but this boast is not accompanied by a fair and respectful treatment of its workers.

At the start of 2020, more than 100 Green Net workers initiated a process of organizing within the framework of WAC-MAAN, which in recent years has unionized Palestinian workers who are employed in Israel and in the industrial zones of Israeli settlements.

The work at Green Net plant in Atarot, north of Jerusalem, is difficult and dangerous, with a high rate of injury. Each day the plant takes in thousands of tons of reeking garbage, making it hard to breathe. Despite this, and despite the expertise demanded for operating heavy machinery, cranes, and fork lifts, all workers get minimum wage. They are not reimbursed for travel and receive no addition for night work or high-risk. Seniority and professional level count for nothing.

Green Net’s management has joined talks with WAC-MAAN and the workers committee toward a collective agreement, but it drags them out, and in recent weeks it has taken measures to break the union, firing leaders.

In addition, Green Net has informed dozens of workers that they will soon be asked to take long leaves without pay in case the Covid 19 pandemic brings again the closure of the Kalandia check point. For Palestinians, that amounts to an especially grievous blow, because they do not get unemployment compensation and have no alternative sources of income. Even before the West Bank checkpoint was closed because of the pandemic, certain “lucky” workers were picked to remain in the plant if a lockdown was imposed. But, they were compelled to live there 24/7, in a single hall, and in conditions contrary to the instructions of Israel’s health ministry. The company fostered divisions and conflicts between them, thus conveying the message that despite their unionization, management would be the one to decide their futures.

The workers at Green Net are determined to end the reign of fear to cancel arbitrary dismissals and, with the guidance of WAC-MAAN, to reach a collective agreement that will guarantee fair wages and working conditions, with prospects of advancement and job security. As Abed Al-Qader, a committee member said: „We are employed under extremely difficult conditions and no one is listening to us. We joined WAC-MAAN because we realized that only through joining the union we have a chance of changing our work circumstances. We will not allow the management to fire our friends, and we will not submit to fear!

For more information, please call Yoav Gal Tamir, Director of the Communications Team, WAC-MAAN. 050-7859475

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