Ta’aman workers on strike: “We are determined to reach a collective agreement ensuring our rights”

Workers of the Ta’aman food company at Mishor Adumim in the occupied West Bank have been on strike since Sunday, Dec 5, 2021. On Dec 6, they also held a […]

Workers of the Ta’aman food company at Mishor Adumim in the occupied West Bank have been on strike since Sunday, Dec 5, 2021. On Dec 6, they also held a solidarity meeting at Almog Junction near Jericho with the participation of the MAAN Workers Association that represents them.

The strike will continue for a week and include all production workers in the large logistical center of Ta’aman. The workers say that for years they’ve been demanding that management pay them supplements and open a pension fund, but it refuses. In October they decided to join MAAN in a struggle to reach a collective agreement. When the company refused to comply with this demand, they declared a labor dispute and strike.

Yoav Gal Tamir, the field coordinator for MAAN, explained that contrary to the company’s claims, MAAN has the legal standing to represent the workers and that any attempt by the company to break the strike or harm the strikers will be answered immediately by legal measures. Gal Tamir emphasized that the workers’ willingness to strike shows the company that its refusal has a price.

Attorney Irit Ullman, who accompanies MAAN, presented the legal picture. She pointed out the contradiction in the company’s position: on the one hand it claims in its letters that MAAN does not represent the workers; on the other hand, it has so far refrained from applying to the Labor Court, where it could ask for an injunction against the supposedly illegal strike. This contradiction, Ullman said, demonstrates the company’s fear of going to court, where it would encounter the question: why don’t you recognize MAAN and sit down with it?

At the solidarity meeting were Workers’ Committee members Shehda Musa and Arkan Gruf, who expressed their willingness to strike for more than a week if necessary. Hamed Abu Srur, with 10 years at the company, added that the workers feel that now is their chance to change their situation and that is why they are ready to sacrifice whatever is needed to continue the struggle alongside MAAN.

Ta’aman has made many unsuccessful efforts to thwart the strike. For instance, it tried to pressure the company’s truck drivers into replacing the production workers, but most refused, saying they would not break the strike of their colleagues.

At the same solidarity meeting on Dec. 6, MAAN Executive Director Assaf Adiv made it clear to the workers that the power of their connection with the union is the main thing. He stressed that the purpose of the struggle is to reach an agreement and regularize their rights. If the company chooses dialogue and logic, he said, MAAN is ready to be part of good labor relations. But as long as the company refuses to recognize the workers’ right to representation, the struggle will continue.

At the meeting’s end, the workers donned MAAN caps and raised signs to emphasize their trust in the union and their commitment to the struggle that will continue until the company negotiates and signs a collective agreement.  

אודות Wac-Maan