Employers petition High Court on right to oppose unionization

The Economic Organizations Liaison Bureau has petitioned the High Court for a conditional injunction against the ban on employers opposing unionization.

The Economic Organizations Liaison Bureau yesterday petitioned the High Court of Justice against the controversial precedent-setting ruling by the National Labor Court in the Pelephone ruling in January, which bans employers from taking a position against unionization by employees. The Liaison Bureau is asking the court to issue a conditional injunction against the ruling, and proposes that instead of the principles and operative rules in the Labor Court ruling about restricting the freedom of expression when employees unionize, employer organizations and unions should agree on common rules.

In the 89-page petition, the Liaison Bureau says that the National Labor Court did not provide sufficient consideration to the importance of employer-employee dialogue in labor relations. The Liaison Bureau proposes that High Court of Justice judges should set their own rules. In general, the petition argues that the debate in the National Labor Court deal with the clash of basic rights: the employees' right to organize against the employer's freedom of expression, and that this issue lies "solely" within the jurisdiction of the constitutional court and is not within the authority of the Labor Court.

The Liaison Bureau says that even the International Labor Organization states that "the freedom of expression and the right to organize are essential and basic rights, and that one should not come at the expense of the other." The Liaison Bureau claims that, in the National Labor Court ruling, the right to organize effectively annuls the employer's freedom of expression.

The Liaison Bureau cites prevailing law in countries where labor law is considered advanced and even "pro-labor", such as France, Spain, and Germany. In none of these countries is the employer's freedom of expression completely restricted when employees unionize. It adds that the National Labor Court erred when it ignored the opinions of activists in the field and their accumulated experience, and that a workplace is changed, for better or worse, after the initial success of the unionization, for both the employees and the employer. It is both natural and desirable that the employer should have a say in this process.

Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) Trade Union Division chairman Avi Nissenkoren said in response to the petition, "We trust the decision of the National Labor Court and we will continue to aggressively defend employees' right to unionize and carry it out."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 13, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

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