RAMALLAH, August 20 (JMCC) - Several dozen Palestinian quarry workers have been on strike since June, hoping to sign a collective bargaining agreement with their settlement employers, reports
If signed, the collective bargaining agreement at the Salit quarry would be the first of its kind between Palestinian workers and an Israeli company, and would set an important precedent for other Palestinians laboring for Israeli companies throughout the occupied West Bank.
It is a huge thing for the Palestinians, explained Erez Wagner, the Jerusalem Coordinator of the Worker’s Advice Center (WAC-Ma’an), an Israeli labour organisation that helps unionise workers and has been actively involved in the collective bargaining process at the quarry.
You see in Mishor Adumim, there are a lot of plants where Palestinian workers don’t earn the minimum wage. If they will see that there is a collective agreement here, they will fight for a collective agreement too. It will be a difference for the Palestinians, for the workers here.
According to Wagner, while the agreement is already drafted – and, in principle, agreed upon by both sides – quarry managers have consistently postponed actually signing it.
They don’t want to sign the agreement because they don’t want to sign an agreement with the Palestinians. They don’t want the workers to work under a collective agreement. They said they will talk to us in a month but meanwhile they want the workers to start working again without any agreement, without any concrete things that they know they will get from the agreement, Wagner told IPS.
The workers want to get all their rights and they will fight for it. They don’t want to continue in this situation any further.