Updated: Jan 7
Waiters at the Segev restaurant in Beer Sheva went on strike today at noon, protesting the violation of their workers' rights. The strikers: "We deserve to receive a pay slip that reflects our real wages, we deserve to be paid for all the hours we are at work." Restaurant management: "We’re examining the employees' claims."
The workers, equipped with signs with various captions such as: Strike Here, Stop Violating Workers' Rights, Not Afraid – Unionizing, more - stood at the entrance to the restaurant and demanded that the chain's management meet with them and discuss their employment rights.
The story began about a month ago when workers at the restaurant were brought together through the Federation of Working and Studying Youth, and formed a workers’ committee, based on an allegation of infringement of their rights as employees. Employees say the chain and restaurant management have not recognized the committee and ignore their requests to sit with them and negotiate their rights.
Employees claim that their employer failed to pay them in accordance with the National Labor Court’s ruling which changes employment regulations in the restaurant industry. Employees say the restaurant has not been following the new guidelines and has not changed the way they work.
The waiters at the restaurant demanded to meet and talk to the management, but they claimed it was to no avail. According to the waiters, the restaurant's management has ignored their requests and dismissed them for no reason, and today there is a protest vigil and an hour-long warning strike outside the restaurant.
What was the response to your strike today?
"We were holding signs in front of the restaurant and explaining to passers-by why we were striking. We received only supportive comments from everyone: people actually were with us and listened. The social rights we receive are not based on our real wages and do not reflect the actual hours we are in the restaurant. We love our workplace and want to continue to work here but want to get what we deserve by law."
"Our pay slip does not reflect the real wages we earn," claims Reut Kadosh, a 24-year-old waitress who has been working at the restaurant since last August. "Last March they stopped paying us for waiting times - that means if I come on shift but there aren't enough customers, then I’m in a 45 minute waiting period, or I’m put on break, and I’m not paid for the break. This kind of break can last two hours and sometimes even four hours, and during this time I can't do whatever I want, I have to stay prepared because if an 8-person table walks in, I have to start serving them. How it used to be in the past is that for 45 minutes we are not paid, but after that we are paid a minimum wage. So even if I made a nice amount during the shift, it’s calculated according to the hours that I waited tables, but I was actually in the restaurant for a lot longer time. That’s the main reason that made us unionize. If we don’t take care of our rights no one else will care about it, we were the weak link in the restaurant. We sent letters, declared a work dispute, and it was all done according to the law. We love the restaurant, we don’t want to quit. Working here is part of all of our lives, and we don’t want to hurt it or destroy it. This is a great restaurant. We just want them to get recognize us and sit down with us to negotiate. During the protest shift, none of the management spoke to us or addressed us. They are ignoring us completely."
The chain’s management sent the following response:
"The restaurant's employees are an integral part of its abilities. The restaurant's management is examining the employees' claims, and they will receive their wages and full rights under the law.