Israel - Blocking trade union organising by anti-union discrimination

In December 2015 workers of Bikurei Hashikma unit in Moshav Timurim (company responsible for the marketing and distribution of agricultural products to Rami Levy chain branches across the country) established an employee committee affiliated to the Histadrut trade union. In an immediate reaction, the company closed the unit. When the new union organised a strike, the company brought contract workers to replace the striking employees. Those participating in the strike action were punished with confiscation of company cars and threatened with dismissals. One hundred eighty workers were subsequently merged with another branch of the company where no unions were present. Court proceedings are pending.

This is not an isolated case. Dismissals, intimidation, unilateral change of working conditions – these are common employers’ practices intended at intimidation of trade union activists. At McDonald’s, employees participating in the strike were suspended from work, their shifts were reduced and their work arrangements were adversely changed after they returned to work. Trade union activists received significant cuts in their amount of work. They were also removed from the company WhatsApp lists used for communication regarding organisation of work, including assignment of shifts – therefore, in practice, dismissed without notice. The same anti-union strategy was adopted at Domino’s Pizza. In addition, managers of McDonald’s routinely prevented workers from speaking to trade union organisers – workers were sent to the closed part of a restaurant (e.g., the kitchen) and organisers were threatened with being reported to the police.

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