Palestina - Salit quarry workers strike for collective agreement after management end negotiations (2011)

In May 2010 workers from the Salit Quarry in the West Bank went on strike over the unilateral ending of negotiations for a collective agreement. Management reportedly ended the negotiations because workers had “lost respect for the law” since they organised. On the third day of strike, management offered to go back to negotiations, and on 13 May the majority of workers voted to end the strike a day before the scheduled opening of the negotiations.

The 40 or so workers, some of whom have been working at the quarry since 1983, began a campaign in May 2007 to gain basic employment rights. At the Salit Quarry there was a disregard for health and safety conditions, vaguely written pay slips for workers from East Jerusalem and none at all for those living in the Palestinian Authority, and arbitrary salary reductions and incorrect pension and insurance payments as stipulated in the collective agreement that applied to quarries. Only in January 2009, six months after a court ordered management to provide pay slips, did the quarry do so.

In April 2009 the two sides met and agreed to negotiate a collective agreement. After a court order compelling management to allow the election of a workers’ committee, an election was held in October 2009. However, in February 2010 management deducted money from salaries ostensibly in return for the cost of providing the pay slips. A short strike in March led the management to back down and to the restart of negotiations; however, on 19 April management announced its withdrawal from the negotiations.

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