HaNoar HaOved assists over 5,000 youth in obtaining proper wages each year.
It is no secret that teenagers and youth are routinely exploited in the workplace. In Israel, HaNoar HaOved – the youth movement associated with Dror Israel – is the officially recognized legal representative for youth who are being exploited in the workplace. The youth movement has been providing this service since its formation in 1924.
Recently HaNoar HaOved represented a group of 70 youth from the northern city of Nahariya who were not paid for work in the 2018 election campaign of Jackie Sabag, the former mayor of Nahariya. These teens saw an opportunity to make some money for one day, as election day is always a school holiday in Israel. But after losing his campaign, the former mayor took advantage of their supposed naiveté and spent the last four years fighting to continue not to pay them for their work.
After a long legal battle in which a judge ruled that the former mayor of Nahariya and members of his faction were indeed required pay wages to dozens of youths who worked on election day, the plaintiffs have finally received the wages with the help of legal representation from HaNoar HaOved.
The court ruled that the defendants must pay the youth a total of 120,032 shekels along with 20,000 shekels in legal expenses. Finally, the story has come to an end with dozens of young workers receiving their checks, along with certificates of appreciation, at a special ceremony held at a HaNoar HaOved branch last Thursday.
Yahav Atias Zacharia, one of the workers being represented, said at the event, “You told us outside the courtroom that no matter what the result, this process has an impact and a change will be made here - this turned out to be true. Thank you to HaNoar HaOved for making our paths clear. You have given our voices power and you have given us the space and the strength to fight for our rights. You are an organization with values and power and if you were a political party, I would vote for you.”
Liran Leibowitz is the representative from the youth movement who guided the group of teens throughout the legal battle. At the ceremony where the youth received their checks and certificates, Leibowitz told the youth, “You have paved the way for real change in society. No more power imbalance between exploitative employers and their young workers. It is no coincidence that in the ruling the Judge wrote that teenagers are the most exploited group in the work force. It is not by chance that every year over 5,000 teenagers turn to HaNoar HaOved for legal assistance. You did not give up on your rights and what was owed to you. Thanks to you, your struggle succeeded. You have created a new reality: a non-exploitative reality. This is how the world changes. This is how you create opportunities for teens everywhere. Today I say to each and every one of you: thank you.”