Published On: Tue, Jul 22nd, 2014

SodaStream Lays Off 60 Palestinian Workers

A dispute over dinner turned into a wildcat strike and sabotage.

sodastream workers

Israeli beverage company Sodastream fired 60 Palestinian workers from its plant in Judea and Samaria, following a dispute over the food they were served for dinner, to break the Ramadan fast.

The fast observers who were working the evening shift at the plant complained that they were not given enough food with which to break the fast after sundown. And since the factory observes strict Jewish Kashrut dietary laws, they are not allowed to bring their own food in.

The 60 workers filed a formal complaint with the company, after which they were all terminated, according to their version of events. This occurred earlier this month.

The workers claim that they were first sent home after their shift ended with a promise that Sodastream would deal with their complaints, but the next day they received termination notices .

But Sodastream disputes this claim, saying that the workers in question disrupted the plant’s operations and conducted what amounted to a wildcat strike.

The company’s spokesperson told The Times of Israel, “The employees were fired because they took the law into their own hands and went on a rowdy strike for no practical reason. Palestinian employees went on strike and shut down the production lines of the plant with no connection to food. We will not accept a situation where the workers, the moment food doesn’t appear, shut down the plant and demonstratively ignore their supervisors.”

One source told Haaretz that “The dismissal process was conducted properly, the workers were given a hearing and they were not denied their severance payments.”

Sodastream’s main factory is located in the industrial zone adjacent to the Israeli town of Maaleh Adumim, just East of Jerusalem. Because the facility is located within the West Bank and across Israel’s pre-1967 border, the company has been accused by anti-Israel groups of complicity in the occupation of Palestinian territory and has been the object of boycott attempts.

The company has shown in the past that its factory is a model of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation.

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