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The Socialist 22 February 2007 |
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Israeli postal workers storm trade union HQ
UP TO one hundred contract typists for the privatised Israeli mail service 'Do`ar Israel', held a protest at the headquarters of the Histadruth trade union federation in Tel Aviv on 19 February. Maavak Sozialisti (CWI) members and other activists were there to support the workers.
Shahar Ben-Korin, Maavak Sozialisti, Tel Aviv
The workers were angry at the Histadrut leadership's betrayal of their struggle. They have been fighting for permanent status and an end to the sweatshop conditions and bullying by management where workers are referred to as "retards".
Both Israeli Jews and Arabs are part of the workforce. Many of them have been on temporary contracts for up to 15 years. As is increasingly the case for many Israeli workers, they are employed by profit-hungry, exploitative manpower agencies.
These workers are paid according to how many letters they process rather than the hours they work. Most of them bring home less than the official minimum wage - which itself doesn't even cover basic food and accommodation costs.
Histadrut leader Ofer Eyni had promised that the Histadrut would fight for permanent status for these workers but has done nothing.
The workers, many of them women, overcame their fear of being sacked for taking part in a protest during work-time and took their struggle to the Histadruth headquarters and the trade union bureaucracy who occupy the plush offices there.
A big crowd of workers gathered outside the headquarters chanting slogans. After a short while their anger boiled over and they marched into the building to demand a meeting with Eyni. For some reason he was unwilling to come out to meet the workers he is supposed to represent.
The workers demanded more than just empty promises of action. Eventually the leadership promised to have a series of meetings with the workers.
These workers are extremely exploited and face a vicious management. Maavak Sozialisti appeals to trade union activists and socialists around the world to urgently send solidarity messages: firstname.lastname@example.org