Call Center Employing 200 Disabled People Faces Liquidation Threat

Blames government for 'defective procedural conduct' in court filings.

A request to liquidate call-center company Call Yachol, which employs 200 people with disabilities, was filed by 70 of its workers on Monday after they failed to receive their paychecks for November.

Company founder and CEO Gil Winch said the company is supposed to receive 2.5 million shekels ($713,674) for 2012 and 2013 from the state due to the special accommodations it has provided for the disabled, but a way to transfer the money has not yet been found. The company is currently expected to close in three weeks.

Call Yachol was founded in 2008 by Winch and his wife, Efrat Segev Winch. In their request to Tel Aviv District Court, the workers stated that the company’s clients included major Israeli corporations such as Bezeq International, cellular phone service company Pelephone, credit card company Leumi Card and food conglomerate Tnuva.

The workers' liquidation filing specifically blamed “defective procedural conduct in the halls of government” as the cause for closing what it described as a company that provides economic benefits to both the state and its employees, as well as supporting the latter mentally.

“In 2013, we live in a country that can launch missiles and satellites,” said Gil Winch. “But all the ministers we spoke with – the economy minister, the social affairs minister, the finance minister – all say that we are entitled to the money but a way hasn’t been found to transfer it.”

“The ministry and its partners in the matter – the social affairs, health and finance ministries – are aware that Call Yachol is an important company, and have been working intensively of late to create a joint mechanism to aid companies like it to continue to operate,” the Economy Ministry said in response. “We hope that in the coming days a solution will be found.”

Winch said that so far the government has only been capable of transferring several hundred thousand shekels, not enough to keep the operation going. “In the meantime, I am spending money out of my own pocket and waiting patiently for things to sort themselves out,” he added. “We have no choice but to cease operation.”

Dror Artzi