Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Israeli Educational TV Workers

Israeli Educational TV is forcing new employment arrangements for Freelance Workers that are exploitative and unacceptable. ETV, a governmental institution, is creating a false norm. WAC organizes the Freelance Workers and calls for immediate negotiations in order to ensure their rights.

Freelance workers in Educational Television are being asked to sign new agreements that will come into force in January 2007. In a letter of December 14 to Ms. Yaffa Vigodski, General Director of Educational Television, WAC claims that the new labor arrangements being forced on freelance workers by Educational Television are exploitative and contravene basic workers’ rights.

The definition of the workers as freelancers is a fiction. These are ordinary employees who work at ETV every day, in some cases for periods lasting years. The move to sign a new contract with them indicates satisfaction with their work; but the management of Educational Television wants to have it both ways – to have a professional, skilful labor force, at the same time cutting costs by depriving the workers of their rights.

As part of this attempt, the management has moved some workers from a full-time basis to twelve days per month while simultaneously recruiting new workers. Many freelancers who have been working for more than a year are now being asked to sign temporary contracts, which will not afford employment benefits.

The new arrangement turns permanent employees into casual workers, forcing their termination every few months. It does not guarantee sick pay, holiday, compassionate leave, pension, or career development. In addition, it (illegally) forbids trade-union membership.
By trying to force its workers to sign the arrangement, Educational Television, a public employer, is creating an abhorrent and unacceptable norm. Thus, the state, which is supposed to protect its citizens, is seeking to harm them.

Exploitation in the work-place has become a national malaise. The Association for Civil Rights published a report this week about the grave situation of workers in Israel. Recently, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor undertook a campaign to inspect and control employers, in order to ensure the application of employment legislation. The case of Educational Television stands in stark contrast to the obligations of public bodies to keep within these rules.

WAC is organizing the Freelance Workers of ETV who are not represented by the Local Workers Committee affiliated to the Histadrut. In the struggle of these workers since June 2006 WAC has collaborated with the Local Workers Committee in the campaign for the rights of these workers and has been able to stop the firing of several. Entering the new phase of the struggle WAC hopes to get the widest support for its demand to start serious negotiations in order to ensure their rights.

For more details: Assaf Adiv – National Coordinator Email: Mobile: 972-50-4330034

Friday, December 01, 2006

Campaign against Royal Mail closures

Royal Mail is proposing to close three major Mail depots, at Reading, Gloucester and Coventry. This is a big test for the CWU since, under the pressure of competition in a liberalised market, Royal Mail will surely look for more closures if they are able to close these three.

The Gloucester CWU has a campaign website at which includes a petitition directed at Minister Alistair Darling. As well as signing the petition can you also send a letter to Allan Leighton opposing the proposed closures at:

Allan Leighton
Royal Mail Group Plc
148 Old St

Trades unionists will support the workers whose jobs are under threat. At the same time there is an environmental angle to this issue, since the closure will add to road traffic, both for post and staff.