RMT calls protest to support Arab workers on Israeli railways

Submitted by martin on 22 April, 2009 - 10:20

The RMT rail union has called a protest outside the Israeli embassy in London on 11 May to support Arab workers threatened with the sack from Israeli railways. More details here.

Also in this posting: Iraqi teachers' union under threat; Israeli Antiquities Authority workers fight sack.
ISRAEL: Sawt el-Amel, an NGO based in Nazareth, are have launched an appeal against the decision by Israel Railways to deny employment to railroad crossing guards who lack a permit to carry weapons. As such permits are usually only issued to army veterans, 150 Arab employees now face the sack.
From the appeal:
“Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel have always been extremely underrepresented in Israel’s public sector (including state-owned companies), and despite existing anti-discrimination laws only about 5% of civil servants are Arabs, while they make up almost 20% of the overall population. Exclusion of Arabs from the public sector is mainly a result of Israel’s state security policies, which deny [employment to] Arabs who have not served in the Israeli army…
“The new policy also excludes recent immigrants, ultra-orthodox Jews, disabled persons and conscientious objectors.
“On the whole, Israel Railways’ new employment policy should be seen both as a continuation of Israel’s long-standing strategy to exclude Arab workers … and as an assault on all economically and socially marginalised groups in times of growing economic crisis.”
• More: http://www.laborers-voice.org.
IRAQI TEACHERS: The Iraqi government is threatening to take over the Iraqi Teachers’ Union and remove the existing (elected) leadership. To do o this they are making use of a “de-Ba’thifying” law, which allowed for the dissolution of associations linked to the Saddam regime.
The Government’s motive is probably retribution for the Teachers’ Union’s part in the August 2008 workers’ protests that won wage rises for public sector employees.
The relative stability of the Maliki government — dominated by Shia clerical-fascist and Kurdish warlord parties — increases the threat that the government poses to the Iraqi labour movement.
It has refused to carry through its promises to introduce a democratic labour law.
The Teachers’ Union leaders have refused to hand over the union and now face the threat of arrest. This is a vital test case: the Iraqi teachers need our support!
• Send a message of protest via Labourstart.
ISRAEL: 21 Palestinian workers from East Jerusalem are demanding to be employed directly, with full social benefits, by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA). These workers have been employed until January 2009 through a personnel company called Brik. But the IAA and Brik fired them to avoid the need to apply the law (2008) that stipulates that after nine months a worker becomes automatically an employee of the main company (in this case the IAA). The workers organised in WAC Maan (Workers' Advice Centre) and appealed to Jerusalem Labour Court. They are now awaiting the court decision. This a test case and the outcome will affect many workers, 10% of the entire Israeli workforce, from all ethnic groups, who are in the same position.
• Send messages of protest to Israeli Labor and Antiquities authorities via Labourstart. More: www.wac-maan.org.il.


Submitted by martin on Wed, 13/05/2009 - 19:45

The labour court has ordered Israel Railways to review its new policy requiring army service as an employment condition in consultation with Israel’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. On May 6, 2009, Israel Railways submitted a new policy proposal to the court. However, no action will be taken while the lawsuits are pending as the court has ordered a temporary injunction. The date for the next hearing is still to be determined.

This is a major success for all workers and for international solidarity action, as it shows that we have the power to challenge arbitrariness, exploitation and discrimination by employers and the government (Israel Railways is a state-owned company).

Click here for more.

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