On August 30, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that a petition filed by the Teval Security, Cleaning, and Services Ltd and adopted Kav LaOved’s petition that employees have the right to file a class action lawsuit against their employer, even if there is a collective agreement in place. This is important for when trade unions fail to act in defense of workers’ rights. Now workers will have the ability to not exclusively rely on trade unions in case of violations of their rights.
Attorney Eran Golan, who on behalf of Kav LaOved represented the case, stated that “workers’ unions with agreements ‘on paper only’ failed in their role. Over the last two decades, Kav LaOved has criticized the unions for choosing to side with employers while continuing to charge handling and membership fees from the most disadvantaged workers.”
From the ruling:
“Kav LaOved highlighted how, in practice, the ‘collective-agreements’ were not protecting workers in fields like cleaning and security where workers are employed as contractors, and that the Histadrut organization of trade unions de facto does not ensure their rights. It was also emphasized that the applicability of the collective agreement in the security-sector was the result of the defendant’s employers joining the union, rather than from genuine union effort to represent the workers.”
“The root cause of the problem was the making of agreements that left workers unprotected in practice. As we have noted, in this context the Labour Court will in future need to take into account the referral mechanism provided in the employees’ agreement regarding enforcement, the question of whether workers’ requests to uphold their rights are met in practice, and the time taken for unions to respond to workers’ appeals. It is important to clarify that for the mechanism of enforcement of rights, including its enforcement-agreement, to be deemed an adequate substitute for a class action, it is not enough to include an “order of enforcement” which is only for a “sample” of workers, but it should include a channel in which the representative plaintiff and every other employee can be answered before his workplace enforcement is chosen to be revised in the sample.”