Victory for the Histadrut at the Labor Court
The Manufacturers Association of Israel (MAI) headed by Ron Tomer cannot prevent the issuing of extension orders to collective agreements, agreed upon by the Histadrut and the presidency of the business sector. The National Labor Court determined that the Histadrut will continue to negotiate future economy-wide agreements with The Presidium of the Israeli Business Organizations.
According to the ruling of the National Labor Court, the position of the Histadrut to continue dealing with one umbrella organization of employers – The Presidium of the Israeli Business Organizations – with the aim of reaching agreements and extension orders for the benefit of all employees is a “substantive position designed to increase uniformity and equality, while also caring for workers in non-organized industries”. It was also decided that the fact that the MAI chose to withdraw on its behalf from the employers’ umbrella organization does not oblige the Histadrut to negotiate with it.
The National Labor Court rejected today (Sunday) the lawsuit filed by MAI, in which it demanded to prevent the issuing of extension orders to the agreements signed by the Histadrut with The Presidium of the Israeli Business Organizations.
Throughout the years, the Histadrut conducted negotiations for general agreements (such as sick leave, travel, compensation for employees following absence from work due to security situations, etc.), with The Presidium of the Israeli Business Organizations, in which various employers’ organizations were members, including the MAI. But, in 2020, and after Dr. Ron Tomer (who headed the Presidium) was not reelected as president of The Presidium of the Israeli Business Organizations, the MAI resigned from the Presidium and established (together with another organization) a new employers’ organization.
Two agreements were disputed; one a new sick leave compensation agreement signed in 2021, and the second, an agreement to compensate employees for their absence from work due to the “Guardian of the Walls” operation. Regarding both agreements, the Histadrut submitted a request to the Ministry of the Economy to expand them with extension orders so that all workers in the economy could benefit from them. However, the MAI submitted an objection to the (then) Minister of the Economy against this request, demanding that it does not accept the agreements since it was not included in negotiations regarding the matter (rather, negotiations took place with the Presidium). The MAI even filed a lawsuit regarding the matter with the Labor Court on the grounds that the extensions orders were illegally implemented.
The MAI went further in asking the High Court to oblige the Histadrut to include the MAI in future negotiations on cross-sector issues. Of course, for the Histadrut, there is no merit in dealing with two parallel bodies when it seeks a united agreement for the entire economy. Especially, when until their internal disputes, the agreements between the Histadrut and the Presidium of the Israeli Business Organizations were publicly and legally accepted.
Therefore, today, the National Labor Court rejected the MAI claim and accepted all of the Histadrut’s claims in the case. In the ruling, the court emphasized the importance of issuing extension orders to the economy-wide agreements signed over the years between the Histadrut and the Presidium of the Israeli Business Organizations. The Court also emphasized that the position of the Histadrut according to which this practice of creating uniformed standard of the basic rights for all workers in the economy, “is a pragmatic position designed to increase stability, certainty, uniformity and equality while also caring for workers in unorganized industries”.
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