The popular food delivery service 10Bis – an Israeli branch of the Dutch company Just Eat Takeaway.com – will pay 80,000 shekels ($25,000) in compensation to their employees after the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court ruled two to one that the company had harmed the unionization of its workers under the Histadrut. In addition to compensation, the company was also ordered to pay the costs of the legal expenses in the amount of 15,000 shekels ($4,600). Notably, the court recognized the Histadrut as the representative body of the company's employees, and ruled that 10Bis must negotiate with them with the goal of signing a collective bargaining agreement.

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The majority ruling written by the head judge, the Honorable Hadas Yahalom, determined that the 10Bis management sought to fire the chair of the worker’s union and resorted to disproportionate disciplinary measures that violated their own terms.

It was also determined that management took harmful actions against the organizing workers and the leaders of the union, encouraging employees who acted to thwart the unionization. Judge Yahalom noted that “this conduct constitutes a violation of unionizing in terms of the message it conveys to employees who wish to organize, with regard to the attitude of the management towards them, in various aspects of working life.”

The ruling noted that management acted illegally when it established its own internal workers’ union to compete with workers' efforts to organize under the Histadrut – but noted that it decided to stop its convening before the ruling was made.

The court rejected the management’s claims that the Histadrut violated the employees’ privacy or harassed them in violation of the provisions of the Spam Law – a 2008 law regulating the sending of commercial marketing to recipients without their consent by way of email, SMS or automatic calls. 10Bis claimed that the Histadrut sent advertisements to employees in violation of this law, but the court ruled that a workers’ union is not a product, and therefore the Histadrut's act of informing workers about the union did not violate the Spam Law.

The court also rejected the claim that the Histadrut exerted “illegitimate influence” on the workers when it offered a benefit in the form of a coffee and pastry voucher to those who joined the union.

Outside the National Labour Court of Israel in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Yair Zouker)

The National Labour Court of Israel in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Yair Zouker)

The judges added that there was a flaw in the Histadrut’s canvassing methods, which included signing workers up to the union via telephone without reading the full terms and conditions, opposed to the court-approved method of using an online signup system. However, the court added that due to the special circumstances of the company, less consideration should be attributed to this, since most of the company’s employees are couriers who are constantly on the move to maximize their number of deliveries, and do not have time to fill out forms face-to-face. The court further added that this is the company's third attempt at unionization, and therefore most workers are already familiar with the process.

10Bis employees first unionized with the Histadrut in October 2020, after two previous failed attempts with another trade union, Hapoel Mizrahi. 10Bis employs some 1,500 people, more than a third of whom have joined the union when it initially formed. Generally, when the Histadrut attempts to help workers form a union, they try to sign up at least a third of the company’s employees to a worker’s committee. Once that is accomplished, they, along with the leadership of the committee approach the management as a union and begin negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement

This current iteration of the 10Bis union formed, amongst other things, with the employees demanding that their bonuses be paid at the same amount as what they receive from their pension payments. They also demanded a commitment to a minimum number of work hours per week, a wage increase for work on Saturday and regulation of delivery distances they need to do.

Another major demand brought by the workers is a special courier insurance that will protect them should an accident occur, especially ahead of winter. Many employees testified that after having accidents they were left to fend for themselves, not receiving adequate responses or help from the company. The unionized workers are contracted from Scoober, a subsidiary of 10Bis, which employs the delivery workers.

10Bis couriers in downtown Jerusalem. (Photo: Nati Shohat / Flash90)

Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David welcomed the ruling with a strong message and hope for the future.

“Today’s important decision demonstrates once again that any attempt to harm the workers unilaterally will run up against a solid wall and not succeed,” he said in a statement. “Every employee is protected, and no company is above the law. As the home of the workers in Israel, the Histadrut will continue to protect the rights of the workers resolutely and fearlessly.”

Director General of the Division Labor Unions, Amichai Stinger, praised the court decision as well.

“This is a good day for the dedicated employees of 10Bis. The court sent a clear message that even young workers, in an abrasive and transient profession, have the right to organize and stand up for their rights,” he said.

Adam Steiner, the chairman of the 10Bis union, reflected on the harrowing saga and thanked the court.

“This is an important and historic victory. For two years now, my friends and I have tried exercising our democratic right to establish a labor union at 10Bis. Unfortunately, instead of sitting with us, they [10Bis management] acted against me and all those who worked for the union," he said. "I congratulate the court on its decision and call on the management to leave all disputes aside and sit down for negotiations in the best interests of the employees and the company.”

10Bis issued a statement on the ruling, responding that although a decision has been handed down, they are keeping their options open.

“The management of the 10Bis food delivery service is looking further into the ruling. On the face of it, it seems that most of the Histadrut's allegations against us have been rejected. The judge also pointed out significant failings carried out by the Histadrut while they were recruiting employees to become members. We will decide on our further steps after an in-depth examination of the decision.”

The Histadrut was represented by attornies Anat Gutman and Adi Golan from the Legal Bureau of the Histadrut's Trade Union Division, as well as Elad Morag from his private practice. The 10Bis union will be overseen by the Workers' Union branch of the Histadrut and the youth union branch of the Ha’Noar Ha’Oved ve’Ha’Lomed.