The General Federation of Students and Working Youth (NOAL) is the representative organization of the working youth in Israel, it was founded by a group of working teenagers in 1924. Due our duty we have great responsibility in shaping the children and youth work market. for instance, through signing collective work agreements for youth, or by involvement in the "Working Youth Council" established by virtue of the Youth Labour Law, 5713-1953, which advises the Minister of Industry, Trade & Labor in issues regarding the Law. In fact, the NOAL is the only organization in Israel that deals with child and youth labour today, especially in legal and paralegal counseling to working youngsters, who have been exploited by their employers. This assistance is provided today by over 60 volunteers and is free of charge.
The Goals of the NOAL
- .Widening the knowledge of youth regarding their work rights
- Shaping the children and youth work market by :
- Proving legal and paralegal counseling to working youth, who have been exploited by their employers
- Building connections in workplaces – assistance to employers and teenagers
- Educational and informational activities in different frameworks for youngsters
- Development of professional training in vocational programs
- Connections with the enforcement unit in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor (MOITL)
- Leading and participating in social campaigns.
- Connections with the media
- building alliances with other NGO's in oreder to strengthen the struggle against exploiting working youth
3. Developing new methods for trade union action in 21st century Israel.
The Organizational Structure of the NOAL Ways of Action
In the NOAL today, hundreds of volunteers after their military service, all graduates of the NOAL youth movement, are acting in a variety of educational and social activities, and constitute a significant power operating to change and improve Israeli society.
Over 60 of these volunteers, nationwide, are committed to activity of the youth trade union, which includes:
- Legal and paralegal assistance for working youth, by means of approaching the employer and representing the employee in labour courts. As many as 80% of the complaints are solved through direct approach to the employers, and the remaining 20% by submitting claims to the labour courts. In 2006, 5,918 calls were made to a special hotline operated by the NOAL, almost 700 cases were opened against employers, over 400 of those cases were settled outside the labour courts.
- Wide-scale rights publicity activities – giving lectures in high schools all over the country. Teenage 'patrol units' distributing "labour rights cards" in shopping malls, festivals and other places in cities and towns in which they live. Publicity activities for specific populations, for example – guides in day summer camps, informing employers on changes in labour laws, advertising in the media, etc.
- Visits to workplaces – In unorganized work places we survey the working conditions, try to sign contracts with the employers, position ourselves as a relevant and essential factor in their labour relations. In organized places, the visits are held by the volunteers in the vocational schools, and their purpose is to make sure that the laws regarding minimal employment conditions are upheld.
- Keeping in touch with the enforcing unit of the MOITL – reporting incidents of rights violation justifying criminal investigation and legal action against employers. We are also leading a public campaign to enlarge the amount of supervisors.
- Civil Enforcement – The Youth Trade Union has developed a means to enforce the implementation of the labour courts' judgments. A Civil Enforcement consists of demonstrating or handing out fliers in front of the specific place of business calling the public to boycott the place until the employer implements the court's judgments. These civil enforcements take place only after all other attempts to negotiate have failed.
- Reaction to legislation initiatives and in the future the intention to make our own legislation initiatives and to sign collective agreements for working youth.
Examples of The NOAL's Achievements in The Field of Trade Union
- Blocking the legislation initiatives to reduce, gradually, the rights of the working youth, such as:
1. The initiative to enable choice of the weekly day of rest, which in fact meant to enable the employment of youth on the weekly day of rest, a matter that is forbidden today by law .
2. Reducing the minimum eligibility age for work in the summer vacation from 14 to 13, which in the reality of labor laws enforcement in Israel, could have been another step in the slippery slope of working youth rights which will, sooner or later lead to the employment of twelve year olds or even younger. Our objection to this amendment to the Youth Labout law is a result of the understanding that by setting the legal norm the state also setts the "grey areas".
- Giving effective legal assistance in the private sector.
- Signing collective agreements with employers from different kinds of industry, for example the agreement with the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), together with the head of the workers' committee in the IAI in the Histadrut in 2004.
The Influential Expansion Potential and Goals for The Future
The Youth Trade Union section of NOAL set many goals for itself, which are meant to expand its influence and to fulfill its goals in the most comprehensive manner. The main goals are:
- Affecting governmental policy in the issue of labor law enforcement and enlarging the number of labor laws supervisors.
- To implement initiatives to improve and update the laws that deal with working youth.
- To strengthen the education to labor values, mostly to introduce the terms that relate to the labor world, to increase the measure of criticism among the movements' members to the status of the workers in Israel and the weaker workers' groups, such as the cleaning and security workers.
- Development and sophistication of the professional training system for youth in the framework of the Apprenticeship Law.
- Strengthening the connection between the different trade unions from all over the world, mostly promoting programs of exchanging professional training methods.