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Friday, 15 May 2009

Israel Railways - First Victory Over Racist Sacking of Arabs

People may remember the article a few weeks ago on the attempt to sack Arab workers from Israel Railways because they hadn't served in the army. This is one of the means by which Apartheid is maintained in Israel without the need for ‘Jews Only’ signs or specific legislation reserving jobs etc. to Jews only. Well thanks to the fierce reaction to this naked piece of racism, with my own union UNISON taking the lead, the High Court in Israel has issued a temporary injunction. No one should be under any illusions that the reason, as cited in court, for granting an injunction was the international reaction to another apartheid step. So congratulations every one. Pressure works!

Tony Greenstein

International Appeal in Solidarity with Arab Railway Workers in Israel (May 12, 2009)
First Victory – Handle with Care
full document (pdf)
list of endorsements (pdf)

Dear colleagues and supporters of the Arab railway workers’ struggle,

Arab railway workers in Israel have scored a first victory: Israel Railways was forced to act!
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).

The labour court 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.

The struggle continues!

Sawt el-Amel and representatives of the railway workers are currently discussing the latest developments and new strategies for the campaign because the “compromise” presented by Israel Railways looks like a sham: the revised policy may well have the intended effect – the exclusion of Arab workers – without being openly discriminatory.

Main features of the suggested policy change:
  • Army service as an employment condition will be replaced by three new conditions: at least 18 months continuous employment in the same workplace (army service included); night-shift work experience (army service included); work experience in an “hierarchical organisation” (army included). All three conditions must be fulfilled in order to be eligible for employment;
  • Railway crossing guards who have been employed for more than one year will keep their jobs without having to fulfill the new conditions. On the other hand, all Arab railway crossing guards who have been on the job for less than a year will be sacked as they no longer fulfill the criteria.
Representatives of the railway workers criticise:
  • In light of the facts on the ground in Israel’s labour market, the new conditions virtually replace the condition of military service;
  • The term “hierarchical organisation” is unclear – railway workers conclude that it in fact describes the military;
  • Between 50 and 60 Arab level crossing guards, who have worked for Israel Railways for less than a year, will lose their jobs as a result of the suggested new policy. This is not acceptable to the railway workers.
Sawt el-Amel’s concerns:
  • The new conditions automatically qualify everyone who served in the army and put serious obstacles to Arab and other marginalised workers who frequently change their workplace and often work in more informal work environments;
  • It appears that de facto workers affected by the original policy explicitly mentioning army service as an employment condition will also be affected by the proposed compromise.
Campaign update:
Hundreds of organisations and individuals have endorsed the appeal and sent protest messages to Israel Railways, among them trade union leaders and grassroots activists from all over the world. Long live international solidarity!

With regard to the recent developments, representatives of the railway workers called on Sawt el-Amel to continue the international solidarity appeal.

Please pay attention to the next campaign update, to be published soon on our website and via our mailing list.

List of campaign endorsements as of May 12, 2009:
Sawt el-Amel/The Laborer’s Voice
Intal, Belgium
Association Tutti-Frutti International D?veloppement Solidarit?, France
UNISON the public service trade union, UK
Brighton and Hove District Trades Union Council, UK
Brighton and Hove UNISON Local Government, UK
Brighton and Hove Unemployed Workers Centre, UK
New York City Labor Against the War, U.S.A.
PGFTU - Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions, Palestine
Isle of Wight Friends of Palestine, UK
Union Sindical Obrera (USO), Spain
Comit de Solidaridad con la Causa ?rabe, Spain
Acre Women's Association, Pedagogical Center, Acre
NION, Toronto, Canada
South Lanarkshire Branch, UNISON, UK
City of Edinburgh UNISON, Scotland, UK
Norwich PSC, UK
GMB Norwich General Branch, UK
Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK
A.C.L.I.A (Acces la Citoyennete Lutte pour l’Insertion et l’Autonomie), France
Australian Services Union, Brisbane, Australia
LBC-NVK Antwerp, Belgium
UCU (University and Colleges Union) Westminster-Kingsway College, UK
Association Le ZartsDuMonde, France
Freedom Socialist Party, International Executive Committee, Australian and U.S. Sections
Oxford Brookes University branch of UNISON, UK
Council of Canadians | London, Ontario, Canada
KWB, Brussels, Belgium
KWB Vlaamsbrabant and Brussels, Belgium
syndicat national CGT de l'INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique), France
East Sussex Area UNISON Branch (TU), UK
Norwegian Electrician’s and IT Worker’s Union, Norway
The Internationalist Socialist League
Arab Association for Human Rights – HRA, Nazareth
AKNahost Berlin, Germany
Vigilances et Initiatives Syndicales Antifascistes – VISA, France

Taher Jayousi, Railway Worker/Assad Salami, Railway Worker/Ibrahim Nasrallah, Railway Worker/Luqman Salami, Railway Worker/Mustapha Matani, Railway Worker/Karim Qadi, Railway Worker/Ali Rabus, Railway Worker/Yussef Nasrallah Railway Worker/Amir Hamoudi, Railway Worker/Ahmad Hamoudi, Railway Worker/Jibran Naddaf, Chairperson Sawt el-Amel, Nazareth/Auni Banna, Attorney, Board Member Sawt el-Amel, Nazareth/Haifa Shehadi, Board Member Sawt el-Amel, Nazareth/Awni Zidani, Board Member Sawt el-Amel, Nazareth/Wehbe Badarne, Director Sawt el-Amel, Nazareth/Marie Badarne, Int’l Relations Sawt el-Amel, Nazareth/Fakher Badarne, Young Workers Sawt el-Amel, Majd el-Krum/Maha Krayyem, Women’s Platform Sawt el-Amel, Majd el-Krum/Tawfeiq Tibi, Advocate, Insaf Centre, Taybeh/Ramzi Suleiman, University of Haifa/Barend Claessens, ACV-CSC, Belgium/Younis Biadsi, Baqa al-Gharbiyeh/Heidi Paredes, Beit al-Musiqa, Shefamer/Rasha Hilwi, Beit al-Musiqa, Shefamer/Tawfiq Natour, Abna al-Balad/Melanie Atrash/Kifah AbdelHalim, Jerusalem/Mayss Nasser, al-Tireh/Frances Raday, Jerusalem/Elizabeth Bishop, Ph.D., Texas State University, U.S.A./ James E Vann, Oakland Tenants Union, U.S.A./ Riya al-Sanaa, Bir as-Sabaa/Beer Sheva/Smadar Carmon, NION and IJV Toronto, Canada/John Porter, Glasgow, Scotland/Frank Barat, PSC-Russell Tribunal on Palestine, UK/ Dr. Ted Swedenburg, University of Arkansas, U.S.A./ Dr. Laleh Khalili, SOAS, UK/ Aharon Eviatar, Hofit, Israel/Peter Eglin, Kitchener/Canada/Elizabeth Spradley, University of Arkansas-Middle East Studies, U.S.A./ Anna Miransky, Canada/David Hillman, Oxford, UK/ Mark LeVine, Ph.D., UC Irvine, U.S.A./ Alam Sher, Glasgow, Scotland/Guy Bollag, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace between Israel and Palestine, Switzerland/Nadine M?OUCHY, Institut fran?ais du Proche-Orient (Ifpo), Lebanon/Ola Sweetat, Attorney, Tarshiha/Dr Robert Boyce, London School of Economics, England/Brenda Maddock/Henry N. Lowi, Advocate, Barrister Solicitor, Toronto, Canada/Chandler Davis, Toronto, Canada/Kenneth Fryde, Teacher, Cambridge, U.K./ Prof. Yosefa Loshitzky, University of East London, London, UK/Ruth Friedman, Belgium/Ann Pett/Tareq, Morocco/Dr. Anna Carastathis, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada/Byron Simmonds, Norfolk Jewish Peace Group, Norwich, Norfolk, UK/Robin Winogrond, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace, Zuerich, Switzerland/Dr. Edwin E. Daniel, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta and McMaster University/Sherna Berger Gluck, California State University, Long Beach, USA/Claude Calame, Prof. Dr., ATTAC et NPA, Paris, France/Ameer Makhoul, Ittijah, Haifa/Vicky Russell, Cambridge Town & Gown Against War-Mongering, Cambridge, England/Nidal Nadaf, Acre/Jason Kunin, Toronto, Canada/Wasseem Abbas, Kufr Kanna/J Kazantzis, UK/Pat Montague, Toronto, Canada/Jessica LaBumbard, Ojibwa, Wisconsin, USA/Monciaud Didier, Cahiers d’Histoire, revue d’histoire critique, Paris France/Susan Stout, Trade Union Committee for Justice in the Middle East (TUCJME), Vancouver, BC, Canada/Bernard Regan, National Union of Teachers (NUT) Member, UK/Dr. Mary-Jo Nadeau, Faculty at Trent University; Member of Faculty 4 Palestine, Toronto, Canada/Liam Barnard, Monkfish Big Band (Bass Player)/SOAS, University of London, Kent, GB/Malcolm Wallace, Chelmsford TUC, Chelmsford/Ben Drake, Steward, York City UNISON, York, UK/Sharon Carter, Coal Mine Worker, Dalby, Queensland, Australia/John Cevasco/Hilda Meers/Luisa Memore, Torino, Italy/Ben Singleton, Unite/Labour Party, Oxford, Oxfordshire/Conor Scott, Dublin, Ireland/Albert Folch, SODEPAU, Barcelona/Greg King, SEIU, Local 888/ Erica Gregory, Retired member PCS Union, Cornwall UK/Michele Citoni, independent journalist and filmmaker, Rome, Italy/ David Gering-Hasthorpe, Coventry/ David Szollosy, Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, Toronto, Canada/ Henry Norr, Berkeley, California, USA/ Jonathan Kissam, UE Local 203, Burlington, VT USA/ Oliver Pearce, Christian Aid, London/ Snehal Shingavi, Instructor, postcolonial studies, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, USA/ M.C. Warrior, Labourers’ International Union of North America, Vancouver, B.C. Canada/ Dr Neil Wellappili, BMA/ NHS, London/ Jeff Bennie, Alliance Employees Union, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada/ Dr. Philip Gasper, Madison, Wisconsin, USA/ Andrew Yale, PhD Student, University of Chicago, USA/ Victor Aram, Bergen, Norway/ Leslie den Harder, New Zealand Service and Food Workers Union, Auckland, New Zealand/Sarah Measday, Hagerstown, MD/ Norman Traub/ Jeremy Dear, NUJ, London/ Corbisier ,Maurice, Bernissart,Belgique/ Terje Kvam, Fellesforbundet, Tofte, Norway/ Jan Van Criekinge, Rotselaar, Belgium/ John Mc Fadden, Fire Brigades Union, Glasgow, UK/ Michael Ring, Sacramento, USA/ Maria Elena Martinez, Sacramento, USA/ Pierre VIART, GPS, Linkebeek, Belgium/ Sam Robson, STEM (Teachers Union), Madrid, Spain/ Anne MacDonald, STEM (Teachers Union), Madrid, Spain/ Katie Jones, Cambridge, UK/ Enrique Ferro, Civil Servant, Brussels, Belgium/ Judith M.Joy, Skipton, UK/ Margret Jeune, NZEI, Levin, New Zealand/ Norma Claire Moruzzi, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA/ Mick Sidaway, Chairperson, RMT, Norwich Branch, Norfolk, UK/ Asne Hagen, Bergen, Norway/ Janine Booth, Secretary, RMT London Transport Region, London, UK/ Maria J. Pedraja, Comisiones Obreras, Spain/Tim Kelly, University of Warwick, Coventry/Dave Barnes, TSSA, St Albans, UK/ Norman Biddlecombe, London/ Pete Green, UCU (University and Colleges Union) Westminster-Kingsway College, London/ Liz McQuaid, WTA NUT/ Thomas Lux, Aerospace worker, Seattle, Wa/Janine Booth, Secretary, RMT London Transport Regional Council/Frank Curtis, RMT rep, Arnos Grove depot/Oliver New, RMT National Executive/Glenroy Watson, Chair, RMT Finsbury Park branch/Will Reid, RMT rep, Seven Sisters depot/Leona Francis, Seven Sisters depot/Carl Campbell, Seven Sisters depot/Unjum Mirza, Political Officer, RMT London Transport Regional Council/Steve Hedley, RMT London Transport Regional Organiser/Derek Bishop, Arnos Grove depot/Mashud Ali, RMT rep, Willesden Green group/Gary Fitzpatrick, RMT rep, Arnos Grove depot/Clive Protheroe, Chair, RMT Bakerloo line branch/Tracy Fitzpatrick, Women's Officer, RMT Finsbury Park branch/John Leach, RMT National President/Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary/Patrick Sikorski, RMT Assistant General Secretary/Tony Byrne, Political Officer, RMT Midlands Regional Council/John Kelly, RMT rep, London Underground Stations & Revenue Council/Ed Shine, Secretary, RMT East London Rail branch/Glen Wallis, Chair, RMT East London Rail branch/Gordon Martin, Secretary, RMT Wishaw and Motherwell branch/Janet Cassidy, Women's Steward, RMT Scotland Regional Council/Pete Woods, RMT TfL no.1 branch/Roy Carey, RMT rep, London Underground Managers, Admin, Technical and Support Staff/Malcolm Taylor, RMT rep, London Underground Stations & Revenue Council/Craign Diggins, Assistant Secretary, RMT Finsbury Park branch/Mandy Evans, Chair, RMT National Women's Advisory Committee/Becky Crocker, RMT rep, Goodge Street stations group/Peter Pinkney, President, RMT North East Regional Council/Terry O'Neill, RMT health and safety rep, Loughton depot/Craig Johnston, RMT National Executive/Kim Axford, Secretary, RMT Docklands Light Railway branch/Fliss Premru, RMT TfL no.1 branch/Chris Baillie, RMT rep, Embankment stations group/Brenda Sutton, RMT rep, Gloucester Road stations group/Micky Hyde, RMT London Transport Regional Council Executive/Neil Cochrane, RMT rep, London Underground Stations & Revenue Council/Jon Abdullah, RMT rep, London Underground Stations & Revenue Council/Joanne Parry, Chair, RMT TfL no.1 branch/Mick Crossey, RMT rep, Finchley Central stations group/Tony Gandolfi, Chair, RMT Camden 3 branch/Jason Schulman, Professional Staff Congres/AFT Local 2334, New York, NY/ Clinton Cook, Shop Distributive And Allied Employees Association, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia/ Kate Ramsden, UNISON Scotland, Aberdeenshire/ Jo Heinum, NTL, Oslo/ Bastien Elodie, Sailly-en-ostrevent/ Patrycja Wibe, Gdynia/Poland/ Mike Pixton, Oxford Brookes University/ Neville Grundy, Member of PCS Union, Southport, England/ Mike Marsolek, Private Citizen, Seattle, WA USA/ Professor Patrick Ainley, University and College Union, London/ Nassos Theodoridis, Athens Greece/ Wanda S. Ballentine, Eagan, MN/ Giogio Forti, Italy/ Giorgio Canarutto, Torino, Italy/ Gabe Kramer, SEIU / District 1199, The Health Care and Social Service Union, Columbus, OH/ Anne Lemon, NUT Divison secretary of north Somerset, North somerset/ james m nordlund, fargo, north dakota, usa/ Andrea, Italy/ Daisy Mules, Derry Trades Union Council, Derry City, Ireland/ Elisabeth Maroti, SYRIZA, Zakynthos / Greece/ Bharti Ramji, UNISON, Manchester, UK/ Paola Merlo, Torino, Italy/ Mikel Arregi San Mart?n, Pamplona-Irueea, Spain/ Lorraine Clay, Liverpool, UK/ Rachel Shanks, University and College Union, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK/ Tony Reddin, PEI Musicians for Justice and Peace, Bonshaw, PEI, Canada/ Lot van Baaren, kaderlid, ABVAKABO FNV (public service union), Rotterdam / Netherlands/ Maria Dimitriadi, Journalist, Athens,Greece/ Kath Porteus, Leeds Metropolitan University Unison Branch member, Leeds/ Adele Buffone/ Mary McEachern/ Paolo Amati, Sapienza Universite di Roma, Roma, Italy/ Marcel De Prins, KWB, Belgium/Meaghan Ross, London, UK/ Scarpa, Danila, CGT, NICE/ MILLIARD, Alain, FO, AUXERRE/ GL?NTZLEN, Jean-Marie, CFDT, Aisne – France/ F Maathuis, UCU, York, UK/ John R. Porter, University and College Union, Glasgow, UK/Roger Calvez, Secretaire du Syndicat SNPREES-FO, BREST/ Andrew Knapp, Association of University Teachers (UK)/ GUENNETEAU Christiane, Syndicat des Retrait?s C F D T , NOGENT/OISE FRANCE / G Mir, University and college union/ Annette Maguiness, Sydney, Australia/ Talma Bar-Din, Haifa, Israel/ Snehal Shingavi, instructor, postcolonial literature, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA USA/ Christine Vidal-Gomel, Paris 18/Tanouti N., Belgium/ Michael Eisenscher, Coordinator, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice, Oakland, CA/ Denise D’Anne, SEIU-Local 1021, San Francisco, CA/ Fred Hirsch, Plumbers & Fitters Local 393, Santa Cruz, California/ Dr Julie Scott, University and College Union/London Metropolitan University/ David Nelson, RMT/ Dr Robert Boyce, London School of Economics & Political Science/ Dr Michael Loughlin, UCU, UK/ MIFSUD Gabriel, Retrait? de l'Education Nationale Francheville, France/Anne Candlin, Dalton, UK/ Claribel Le Beller, SNESUP/ Yves Jardin, France/ Nadjette Kitatni , Bondy France/ Dr. Susan Blackwell, University and College Union, Birmingham, UK/ Mary N. Layoun, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, US/Jef Keighley, Canadian Auto Workers - National Representative (Retired), British Columbia, Canada/ Patricia Latour journalist France/ Maurice Odic France/ Pascal Costarelle Trade unionist France/ Nick Phillips, BECTU, London, UK/ A Knapp University of Reading UK/ Ed Rosario Trade Unionist New York City/ Bill Leumer - Workers Emergency Recovery Campaign. USA/ Brigitte Persson Trade Unionist France/ Jean Pierre Barrois France/ Claire DEHOVE Senior Lecturer University of Lyon France/ Donna Kesselman, University of Paris trade Unionist SNPREES-FO/ Ennoufous Bedairia, France/ Helen Peters Open University, UK/ Jean Dubessy Researcher Trade unionist France/ Jean Marc BRUNEEL France/ Luisa Hirschbein Researcher University of Orsay France/ M. M. Nasr, Lawyer, Egypt/Dr. Mayeh Omar, Universities and Colleges Union, University of Leeds, UK/ Monadel Herzallah , AAUMC ( Arab American Union Members Council) trade Unionist U.S/Francis Combe publisher France/ Ruth Shepherd trade unionist university of Manchester UK/ Simon Costa France/ Zarina Bhatia, UK/ Sid Shniad Co-ordinator, Independent Jewish Voices Canadian Office and Professional Employees, Local 15 , Vancouver Canada/ Greg Addington, Twickenham/ Yossi Schwartz/ Suleza Qureshi , Thompsons Solicitors, London/ Ginette Hess Skandrani, Alliance Zapatiste de Lib?ration Sociale AZLS, Paris/ Peter Rachleff, Labor Educator and Professor of History, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA/ David Gering-Hasthorpe, UK/ Dorothy Naor, Israel/ Bill Rosenberg, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, New Zealand/ Marcia Bernstein, USA / Bernhard Klinghammer/Norma Claire Moruzzi, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA/ Benjamin Merhav, Victoria, Australia/ Peter Klosterman, Software Engineer, Piedmont, CA, USA/ M. Zeidan, Arab Association for Human Rights – HRA, Nazareth/ Doris Ghannam/ Roland M?lo Retrait? aviation Civile, non syndiqui, Bouches du Rhine, France/ Rachida Lambert, Manosque France/ Yehudit Keshet, Manchester, Jerusalem/ Stefanie Collins, West Fork, Arkansas USA/ Pierre et Ruth Fuchs, Genive/ Chivvis Moore, USA/ Eliane Viault/ Rachel Adams, UK/ Mira Khazzam, Member of Independent Jewish Voices Montreal, Canada/ Wanda S. Ballentine, Eagan, MN/ A J Silvera, UK
Moreover, hundreds of protest emails are being sent to Israel Railways.


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