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Let WAC Get On with its Work!


Do not shut down the Workers Advice Center


The Workers Advice Centre, a left-wing initiative organising mainly Palestinian workers within Israel, independently of the Histadrut, has apparently had enough success to run into opposition from the state.

Although we may not all agree with the politics of the Organisation for Democratic Action (ODA) or its approach to union work, there do seem to be two principles here which we have to defend.

1) The right of workers to organise and belong to the trade union of their choice.
2) The right of workers and their unions to seek political expression for their views and interests.

The Histadrut has always had its own, Zionist, political aims, establishing and owning many enterprises, and aiming to exclude or restrict Arab labour. Its leadership was usually interchangeable with that of the Labour Party, including government positions.
More recently it adapted sufficient "independence" to incorporate workers who support the right-wing Likud.

In these circumstances, we can understand that Arab workers particularly feel the official union federation does not represent them, and may prefer alternatives.  And whatever our general hesitations about "breakaway" trade unionism, sympathise with their intentions. As for seeking a fresh political voice, we too know this problem! And we can see that the state is being hypocritical, and looking after its own selfish, reactionary interests in attempting to decree that this is not the proper business of trade unions! That is for the workers to decide.
Therefore, whatever our possible differences, I can see no reason not to defend the WAC against state interference.


Sign the petition


We the undersigned oppose the decision by the Registrar of Non-Profit Associations to dismantle WAC MA'AN, the Workers Advice Center. WAC is an active association that has distinguished itself in recent years not only by finding jobs for unemployed Arab workers, but also by placing their issue on the public agenda. We see the decision to abolish WAC as a severe blow to freedom of organization in Israel. We call on the authorities to stop interfering in WAC's important mission of promoting workers' rights.


The Registrar's decision contravenes a Basic Law of Israel, Human Dignity and Liberty (1992): the decision would keep the members of WAC from exercising their freedom to organize for social goals.


The Registrar claims, without foundation, that WAC's activities do not match its declared purposes and that it serves as a front for a political party, the Organization for Democratic Action. WAC's successes in placing workers testify to the contrary. At present, 600 workers, along with their families, depend on WAC's activity. The Registrar's arbitrary step constitutes a direct blow to these people. It also contravenes Convention C 87 of the International Labour Organization, to which Israel is a signatory, and which assures the right of workers to organize without governmental interference.


We call on the Minister of Justice, Mr. Yosef Lapid, to instruct the Registrar to stop at once the procedures against the Workers Advice Center, WAC MA'AN.


To sign this petition email


January 2005


For Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~ For Socialism