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Organizing successes at Osem-Nestlé in Israel

17 August 2012 Feature
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The Histadrut has recently organized a number of factories and distribution centres belonging to the Osem-Nestlé Group in Israel, thereby extending union representation and CBA coverage throughout the company.

The Osem-Nestlé partnership dates back to 1995, when Nestlé took a 10% stake in the Israeli pasta, snack and baked goods company. The stake passed the 50% mark by 2000 and was increased to 58% in February 2012.

Over the years, Nestlé has acquired additional factories, adding them to the Group. These factories, such as Bonjour (baked goods), Tzabar Salads and Tivall (vegetarian products), were not organized and without CBAs.

The Histadrut Regional Labor Councils identified leadership among the workers, who discreetly went about organizing 1/3 of the workforce into the union, which thus became the representative organization by law.

In cooperation with the employees' committees, the Histadrut negotiated and signed CBAs with the factory management of Tivall on 1 August 2011 and Bonjour on 23 July 2012, in both cases following 8 months of negotiations. The CBA at Tzabar Salads is on the verge of being signed, following negotiations that have lasted about 4 months.

In total, about 800 organized employees work in these factories.

In addition, the union has organized and signed agreements in workplaces such as the Ramat HaShofet distribution warehouse in the northern part of Israel, the Beit HaShita pickling factory, and has organized the sales representatives for the private market.

Only one out of eleven workplaces remains unorganized: the Materna baby food factory acquired by Osem-Nestlé in 2010.

Based on a report by Hertzel Yaka, General Secretary, Food Workers' Union, Histadrut