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Justice: No License for Security Service Firms in Violation of Labor Laws

Ten security and guard companies have recently been summoned to a hearing before the Justice Ministry's licensing committee for private investigators.

Business licenses will not be renewed for security service companies that violate labor laws and exploit security guards and watchmen, the Justice Ministry has decided. The ministry has thus acquiesced to demands from MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) and Kav La'Oved, a non-governmental organization involved in protection of workers rights, which have been vigorously pressing the Justice and the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministries since 2006 to take action against the harmful employment terms of thousands of security guards and watchmen.

Ten security and guard companies have recently been summoned to a hearing before the Justice Ministry's licensing committee for private investigators, and security and guarding services, after receiving complaints about labor law violations. The companies' hearing will be held before a decision is made on whether to revoke their licenses.

Security companies are prohibited from operating without such a license, which is renewed annually. The committee itself includes representatives from the Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office. Up until the past few years, the committee checked only on the company's compliance issues related to gun laws and criminal records. The licensing committee has the administrative and legislative authority to repair wrongs and deal with labor-zrelated offenses against employees, but to date has chosen not to exercise this authority.

The Justice Ministry has decided that any company seeking to renew its license will have to submit, among other things, a declaration detailing the number of labor-related claims that have been filed against it, the number of rulings against the company over the past year, the number of claims that ended in compromise, any instances of disqualification or suspension of government tenders due to labor-rights offenses, and the ministerial audit reports by ministries that employed the company. In addition, the committee will audit the companies over the course of the year to ensure their compliance with labor laws.

"The decision is not the end of the process, since resources and financing must be budgeted to enable auditing of the companies," Yachimovich said. "The security business employs tens of thousands of people, many of whom come from the weakest socioeconomic strata. The business is fraught with systematic violation of labor laws with the sole aim of reaping profit for the security service companies - at the expense of watchmen and security guards."