Maya Food Industries in Mishor Adumim has been penalized 200,000 NIS for harm to Palestinian workers organized with WAC-MAAN

The president of the Regional labor court in Jerusalem, Justice Eyal Avrahami, has issued a decision, dated August 31, 2020, determining that Maya Foods has violated the law by harming […]

The president of the Regional labor court in Jerusalem, Justice Eyal Avrahami, has issued a decision, dated August 31, 2020, determining that Maya Foods has violated the law by harming certain workers who have been active in labor organizing, especially by assigning them to difficult night shifts as well as other means. These include the transfer of one worker from the regular job he has had for years as a machine operator to tasks of cleaning and carrying. The judge also called out the company for hiring numerous contracted workers, in violation of its previous commitments to WAC-MAAN. He ordered Maya Foods to cease oppressing WAC’s members, to stop hiring contracted workers, to return the transferred workers back to their earlier jobs, and to compensate WAC with the sum of NIS 200,000.

The court noted that the company has not learned the lesson from a previous Labor Court decision by Justice Daniel Goldberg, who in November 2019 determined that Maya had dismissed and suspended WAC activists illegally. That earlier decision ordered the company to compensate WAC with NIS 160,000.

Justice Avrahami quoted from the testimony of Workers Committee member Bilal Yosef and relied on it in determining that the company had punished workers because of their connection with WAC.

As an instance, one worker, M. S., has been a central figure in the unionizing effort. He was among the first of the Maya workers to join WAC, and as a result the company started to punish him, despite his 14 years of seniority. In the very first days of unionizing, in August 2019, he was summoned for a pre-dismissal hearing but, in the end, was not dismissed. In October of that year, however, the company fired him, claiming that he had sabotaged one of the production machines. WAC turned to the labor court, and the worker was sent to a lie-detector test, which he passed. Nevertheless, instead of returning him to his previous work, the company assigned him to cleaning and porterage tasks outside the plant, without regard to weather conditions. The court determined that the new assignment had been made because of his activity as an organizer and ordered that M. S. be returned to his position at the machine he had operated until October 2019.

The workers of Maya Foods joined WAC in August 2019. They then described adverse labor conditions without pay slips, lack of compensation for sickness and accidents, and violations of other rights. After the November 2019 court ruling which established WAC as the representative organization at the company, negotiations began between the parties, which were partly conducted under the mediation of retired Justice Oranit Agassi. Given the company’s negativity, these fell apart. In the coming days the labor court is expected to render an additional decision in response to WAC’s request concerning Maya Foods’ refusal to pay compensation to 21 workers, members of WAC, who were dismissed in a staff reduction.   

אודות Wac-Maan