The Communist Party of Israel (CPI) launched an international solidarity campaign with Haifa Chemical workers strike. On May Day workers at the Haifa Chemical Inc. (internationally known as “Haifa”) went on strike.
A workers meeting at Haifa Chemicals (Photo: Al Ittihad)
Haifa Chemicals Ltd. is the world’s largest manufacturer and marketer of potassium nitrate, an essential fertilizer for modern intensive agriculture. Using an original process, the company converts locally produced potash and phosphate rock into products of high added value: potassium nitrate, and other soluble fertilizers, phosphoric acid and phosphate salts for use in agriculture, industry and as processed food ingredients. The company also manufactures a diverse line of other fertilizers for agriculture. Established in 1966, Haifa Chemical was privatized and now is wholly owned by an American holding company controlled by the Trump group.
The workers are demanding better conditions and higher wages. They want to overcome the cuts the management have forced them to accept over the past 15 years. An historic and lengthy strike was brutally defeated in that factory in 1997. Now the gap in pay scales between the workers hired before 1998 and “newer” workers has to be overcome.
The workers and their union, Power to the Workers, are also demanding fixed union contracts for all workers who work there regularly. That means kicking out the subcontractors and offering all their workers full employment. These demands mean overcoming the divisions the management has built between the workers. Two days before May Day, the management confronted a negotiating meeting with the Workers’ Committee and unilaterally declared steps to fire some workers and relocate facilities to its separate Southern factory.
Of the 260 unionized workers now at the core of the struggle, 110 are better paid, as they have been employed in the factory longer. They still enjoy the terms and conditions won by collective bargaining before the big 1997 strike defeat. They’re called “Generation A”. The other 150 of “Generation B” are covered by a “special” part of the collective agreement, which gives them much worse wages and conditions. Additionally, there are around 130 workers on personal contracts. This is in spite of the fact that the weak collective agreements from the last 13 years allowed the management to hire only 90 on these worse conditions.
And then there is another group of over 250 workers employed by subcontractors. They are only paid the minimum wage and are faced with the worst conditions – for example, on entitlement to meals, showers, etc. They suffer most from threats and still fear getting unionized. The Workers’ Committee and the union are currently fighting for them with the aim of recruiting them to the union and the struggle. During the strike they were sent home and are under the threat of being laid off by the subcontractor. In the factory there are Jews and Arab workers.
The CPI has supported the striking workers, attended their demonstrations, and carried articles about it in its press, in order to raise public awareness and advocate solidarity with the strike. Members of the CPI Central Committee, who were members of the leadership of the Histadrut (Federation of Labour in Israel), took part in the sit-ins and assemblies of the striking workers, along with members of the Haifa City Council, elected on behalf of the CPI, who were also in attendance.
The CPI appeal to unions and workers inside Israel but also internationally to express solidarity with the Haifa workers strike with letters, visits, donations. Solidarity vigils locally and internationally will be very helpful.
Please, send protest letters to the CEO of Haifa Chemicals, Nadav Shachar, P.O.B. 10809, Haifa 26120, Israel. Telephone: + 972-4-8469614, Fax: 972-4-8450588, E-Mail: email@example.com
Perhaps another Haifa Chemicals branch or subsidiary is situated in your country:
Belgium: Hi-Chem NV, General Manager: Maarten Roelofs , Generaal de Wittelaan 17, bus 16, B-2800 Mechelen, Belgium . Contact details: tel : + 32-15 270811; fax: + 32-15 270815; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Italy: Hi-Agri srl, General Manager : Pierluigi Rigatelli, Viale Gozzadini 13, 40124 Bologna. Contact details: Tel: +39-051-33801; Fax: + 39-051-581155; E-mail: email@example.com
Spain: Fertilizantes Quimicos S.A. (FERQUISA), General Manager: Alfonso Jaen Padilla, C/ Gonzalo de Cordoba 2-2o, 28010, Madrid. Contact details: Tel: +34-91-5912138 , Fax: +34-91-5912552 , E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
: Haifa NutriTech (HNT) Inc., CEO: Marc Lebl, 307 Cranes Roost Blvd, Suite 2030, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701. Contact details: Tel/Fax: +1-(407) 862 6400; Toll-free: 1-(800) 649 4944, E-mail: email@example.com
: Haifa Chemicals México, S.A. de C.V., General Manager: Carlos Fernandez Castello, Ibsen No. 40-201, Col Polanco, 11560 México, D.F. Contact details Tel: +52-55-52804304, Fax: +52-55-52809015, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Haifa Quimica do Brasil Ltda, General Manager : Sergio Steinberg, Rua Batatais, 391 11° andar CJ 111/113 CEP: 01423-010, Sao Paulo-SP. Contact details: Tel: +55-11-30571239, Fax: +55-11-30570542, E-mail: email@example.com
South Africa: Haifa Chemicals R.S.A, General Manager: Dawie Fourie, P.O.B 1409, 18 Viben Street, Unit 5, Brackenfell 7560. Contact details Tel: +27-21-9820309, Fax: + 27-21-9817637, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
: Haifa Chemicals China, General Manager Ms. Peng Bo, Room 602, Building D, Java Millennium Place, No. 18, Jianwai Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing, P.R.China, 100022 . Contact details Tel: +86-10-65150827, Fax: + 86-10-6515071, E-mail: email@example.com
Australia: Haifa Chemicals Australia Pty Limited (HCA), General Manager Mr. Trevor Dennis, Unit 14, 328 Reserve Rd, Cheltenham, Victoria. Postal address: PO Box 224 Southland 3192. Contact details Tel: +61-3-9583 4691, Fax: +61-3-9585 3640, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org