Court orders IRC to suspend layoffs

Posted: April 7, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Israel, Israeli Palestinians

Israeli Railway Company's trainYou might remember a report from March 18th, of some Israeli Arab groups crying wolf following Israeli Railway Company’s change of policy: IRC demanded current and new safety inspectors and guards to produce an IDF retirement document, which – among other things – states soldier’s behavior record and commander’s assessment. Some groups called IRC’s decision ‘racist’, as it would single out Israel Arabs who usually never serve in the IDF or do ‘National Service’ – a special program, usually attended by religious youth, service time between a year and two years helping community, instead of IDF service.

Tel Aviv Labor Court judge issued an order demanding temporary suspension of layoffs – and reinstatement of those already fired:

The Labor Court in Tel Aviv issued an injunction Monday against a plan to fire 70 Israel Railway safety inspectors who did not serve in the IDF. The Arab workers were laid off last week in line with a new policy requiring employees to have completed their army service.

Meanwhile, the new Minister for Minority Affairs, Avishay Braverman, turned to the transportation minister and demanded that the layoffs be averted.

The fired employees say Israel Railway’s decision to adopt the new policy, a plan first reported by Ynet, is illegal.

“How could it be that for three years we were fit for the job, and right now we’re no longer fit and can only serve as security guards at shopping malls?” one worker said.

The court ruled Monday that until a hearing on the matter takes place, after Passover, the layoff notices are on hold. The employees are hoping that the legal procedure will ultimately force Israel Railway to change its policy.

As I have mentioned in my previous report – they layoffs have nothing to do with racism. We have no knowledge of thoughts going through the heads of IRC execs; yet, a demand of a worker to have previous experience in field he is being hired to work in is hardly racist.


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