July 17, 2013: The Independent Trade Union Centre WAC-MAAN today signed a factory-wide collective agreement with Jana Beverages, located in the industrial zone of Nazareth Illit, Northern Israel. The signatories are David Jana, the plant manager; Manuel Ramirez, head of the Jana Workers Committee; and WAC union coordinator Dani Ben Simhon. The signing occurred in the presence of the attorneys for both sides: Ihab Sakhnini representing the factory and Anat Leon representing the workers as well as WAC.
Employing 25, the plant makes soft drinks and light snacks for the local, US, and European markets. Although in existence for about 20 years, this is its first collective agreement, the result of a year of talks (during which the union announced a labour dispute). The agreement regulates the labour relations in the factory and creates an apparatus to ensure their implementation. Not only does it guarantee the workers their rights according to law, such as payments to the pension fund, vacation days, convalescence and overtime pay, but it also provides for back payments amounting to 250,000 NIS (an average of 10,000 per worker)
The workers at Jana—Jews and Arabs, most of them women from Nazareth Illit and the environs—approved the agreement at a general meeting in June that opened the way to today’s signing. Workers Committee leader Ramirez says: “I’m optimistic about fair and dignified labour relations at the plant.” Assaf Adiv, WAC’s National Coordinator, adds: “The agreement signed today shows WAC’s ability to unite workers from various sectors of the population and to organize within a traditional industrial branch.”
At the signing ceremony, plant manager David Jana expressed his appreciation for the cooperative process that took place with WAC and the workers’ committee: “I am sure that together we’ll be able to move the factory forward as a modern and progressive one, respecting workers’ rights and serving as an example to others.”