Histadrut, 'Coffee Bean' Sign Breakthrough Labor Agreement

Haim Bior
Haaretz Correspondent
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Haim Bior
Haaretz Correspondent

The Histadrut labor federation and the coffee shop chain "The Coffee Bean" signed a labor agreement on Tuesday, ending a long dispute between the company's employees in the 14 branches nationwide and the management.

This marks the first collective agreement between the Histadrut and a restaurant.

The agreement will allocate 10 percent of the chain's yearly profit to its employees. In addition, an employee who works for at least a year in the chain will receive benefits reaching between half their salary and a full salary.

The employees at the Tel Aviv branch on Ibn Gvirol street will receive a one-time benefit in order to solve an ongoing dispute regarding their tips- the employees maintain that they did not receive their tips between May 2006- May 2007.

The agreement also entitles each employee to a meal during their shift for the symbolic price of NIS 5.

The management, on their part, promised to abide by the law and pay transportation fares for their employees, or organize transportation during the hours transportation is unavailable.

Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini said at a meeting on Tuesday that "the management and owners of the chain should be praised for this breakthrough agreement. The Histadrut was able to put its foot in the main door of an area where it had no previous presence."

The Coffee Bean worker's union, headed by Alon Lee-Green, was also present at the meeting.

The chain's director-general, Shay Cohen, said that "the chain's customers and employees know today that the chain's employees have the best working conditions in cafes throughout Israel. The chain's employees are partners in the success of the chain and in its competition in the coffee shop market."

Last November, the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court ruled that the dismissal of an employee from his job at the Coffee Bean coffee shop chain three weeks ago was unlawful, and instructed the company to rehire him, after he was dismissed over his attempts to unionize employees and for recruiting his colleagues to join the Histadrut labor federation.

The Histadrut had petitioned the court asking for an injunction against Alon Lee-Green's dismissal, and the court complied. The court issued the injunction after the coffee shop's management failed to prove that Green's dismissal was unrelated to his efforts to unionize the employees of the chain.

The head of the Histadrut's legal department welcomed the court's decision saying "this type of ruling will encourage other workers to form unions and fight for what they deserve."