Workers at Suny-Samsung, an exclusive importer of Samsung Mobile products in Israel, declared an official labour dispute with the company on 10 December after negotiations with management for a first collective agreement broke down.

Some 260 workers joined UNI Global Union Israeli affiliate, Histadrut, a year ago in a bid to challenge an unfair wage system and poor treatment from Suny-Samsung executives.

The union says that since organizing, Suny-Samsung management, led by CEO Moshe Peri, has deliberately stonewalled negotiations with Histadrut and workers’ representatives, in a clear attempt to block a collective agreement and stop unionization at the company.

The workers, who are located in 25 Samsung branches throughout Israel, as well as a licensed central laboratory, are mainly employed in sales and technical repair positions of Samsung products including mobile devices, tablets, smart watches, accessories and more.

On 10 December, workers held a protest vigil in front of the Samsung branch on Ibn Gabirol Street in Tel Aviv, and distributed information leaflets to passers-by and the company’s customers.

The workers are demanding job security and a change to the current unfair system of remuneration, which is linked to reward mechanisms that change frequently and non-transparently.

Yaki Haluzi, from the Histadrut Cellular, Internet & Hi-Tech Workers Union, said:

“I call again on Suny-Samsung management to respect the rights of its employees to unionize and regulate the terms of their employment. Samsung is a leading and prestigious brand and it would be a shame for it to be hurt because of the aggressive attitude of Suny-Samsung’s management to its employees. The declaration of a labour dispute is just a first step, Suny-Samsung employees and Histadrut are determined in their struggle.”

Histadrut has also written to Samsung global management calling on the company to intervene to resolve the situation.

Teresa Casertano, Head of UNI ICTS, said:

“Workers in Israel have a legal right to join a union and bargain collectively for better working conditions and treatment on the job. We urge Suny-Samsung to enter into genuine dialogue with Histadrut and respect workers’ legitimate desire to organize, so that this dispute can come to a close.”