August 4, 2014
By Hanna Zohar
The National Insurance Institute Preferred Job Program provides grants to recently released army veterans who work for a total of six months in one of the entitled employment sectors. Next year, grants for gas station workers will be canceled for a number of reasons, above all, the large number of reports about the violation of the workers’ rights. Despite the extensive media exposure given to these complaints, any expectation that public airing would bring improvement to employer worker relations was in error.
An army veteran who had nearly completed the Preferred Job Program six month work requirement at a gas station turned to Kav LaOved for help. She reported that her manager required her to sign a form stating that she agrees to the deduction of the sum of between 550 ILS to 1800 ILS from her monthly salary to replace cash missing due to customers who drove away without paying and for other suspicious expenses.
She reported that when she noticed the large deduction from her salary at the end of her first month of employment she turned to her colleagues who were also program participants for advice. They told her that this happens to all of them and that there is nothing she can do about it.
We asked the worker if the events were responsible for the deductions from her salary were her fault. They were not. We asked if is she was aware of the events and if the employer showed her proof that they occurred or at least provided her with the dates of the events. She responded that she was not provided any proof, and more alarming, she was sure that a large number of the incidents never happened.
The worker reported that towards the end of her participation in the grant program her employer began to schedule her for shorter shifts in order to coerce her to quit so that she would not be eligible for the grant. Despite the lower income she was still required to sign an agreement to the deduction of 560 ILS from her salary totaling only 2500 ILS. When she refused, her manager threatened to withhold her salary.
After some deliberation she turned to Kav LaOved for help. We advised her to sue the employer for the suspicious deductions and to include her co-workers in a joint action.
In the light of such appalling behavior we can only be pleased that the “party” at the expense of the veterans working at gas stations will end next year.
Translation: Sharon Kerpel