On strike
Photo: Nir Nader
'People fired for no reason'
Photo: Nir Nader

Arabs working in settlement launch strike

Salit quarry's 40 Palestinian laborers set up workers' committee, demand improvement in conditions. What about settlement boycott? 'All we care about is making a living,' one of them says

Palestinians working in the Salit quarry in Mishor Adumim launched an unlimited strike last week.


The workers are demanding that the management sign a collective agreement with them, raise their salaries, arrange their pension payments and stop withholding their wages.


The Israeli-owned Salit quarry is considered a territory subject to Israeli law. It employs some 40 workers, all of them Palestinians from the territories. Most receive the Israeli minimum wage and say they have never been given a pay rise.


About four years ago, the quarry workers established a committee, with the help of the Workers Advice Center in Israel, and began struggling to improve their working conditions.


The workers claim that the wages were paid to them in the past in cash and without providing pay slips, and were often withheld.


Upon starting the committee, the workers petitioned the Jerusalem Labor Court and asked to receive proper pay slips and have money transferred to the National Insurance Institute. The court accepted the committee's appeal and ordered the management to issue proper pay slips.


According to the workers, although the management obeyed the court's order, it continues to withhold the wages and is evading the demand to recognize the committee and sign a collective agreement.


'We feel like on a desert island'

Niaz Kadadha, 52, of the village of Atara, located between Ramallah and Jerusalem, has been working at the quarry for 17 years now and has reached the position of a junior foreman.


"The landlord does whatever he pleases," he says. "People are fired for now reason. The salary arrives once on the 15th day of the month and once on the 20th. In the past few months they negotiated with us and we reached a good collective agreement. The workers approved the agreement, and now all that is left is to sign it.


"We set the signing date for June 13, and then they informed us that it would be postponed to June 16. When June 16 arrived, they postponed the signing date again and again, without giving us any explanation. We feel lost, as if we're on a desert island in high seas."


Don’t you mind working in an Israeli settlement?


"It's doesn't bother us at all. We have to make a living. I provide for four children and I need to live, not to engage in politics. Most workers have no problem with it. The personal relations between the Jewish and Arab workers here are excellent. We just want to be employed properly."


The quarry's management refused to comment on the workers' claims.



פרסום ראשון: 06.26.11, 07:31
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