64 Palestinian farm workers in the Jordan Valley unionize with MAAN to demand their rights

On Sunday, December 13, the MAAN Workers Association notified the Tamar Tov (good date) Packing House in the Jordan Valley (lacated near the Masu’a settlement in the West Bank) that […]

On Sunday, December 13, the MAAN Workers Association notified the Tamar Tov (good date) Packing House in the Jordan Valley (lacated near the Masu’a settlement in the West Bank) that it has become the representative labor organization there. The notice was issued a few days after 44 of Tamar Tov’s Palestinian workers joined MAAN. The union called on the company to open collective bargaining.

The Tamar Tov packing house employs more than 150 workers, about a third of them women. Most live in the villages and towns of the Jordan Valley north of Jericho. Some have worked at the packing house for more than five years. They claim that they do not receive pay slips, their hourly wage is 12 NIS (about $3.60), and they get no social benefits such as sick leave, holidays or compensation for absences due to on-the-job accidents.

Their purpose in organizing is clear: They want better wages (minimum wage in Israel is NIS 29.12 per hour) and the establishment of a lawful employment relationship. They are determined to continue the unionization, and they see MAAN as a trustworthy union that proved its ability to support the fight of workers for their rights. After MAAN declared itself to be the representative union, workers have continued to join and at the moment 64 workers are members of the union.

It is worth noting that in recent years the local and international press have exposed the exploitation of Palestinian workers by Israel’s Jordan Valley settlements. See HRW report on child labor in the settlements’ farm sector from 2015 here  In isolated cases, lawsuits were filed at the labor courts. However, this is the first time that the Palestinian agricultural workers of the Jordan Valley are unionizing.

MAAN Workers Association opens its ranks to these brave workers. MAAN sees the trust they have placed in it as a great responsibility, and it will invest all its experience in this campaign. MAAN operates everywhere on the premise that collective agreement can improve working conditions and wages, correct employment relationships, and strengthen job security.

אודות Wac-Maan