SodaStream: Business in Occupied Palestinian Territory

SodaStream’s main factory is located in Occupied Palestinian Territory, in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. The occupation is in violation of international law, including Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention1 and the UN Security Council Resolution 4652. International law prohibits an occupying power from constructing permanent infrastructure on occupied territory3, unless it is for military use or serves the interests of the occupied population. This industrial zone directly serves the nearby settlement of Ma’ale Adumim as a source of revenue and employment, where the settlement receives SodaStream’s municipal tax payments. The particularly strategic location of the settlement and its industrial zone strengthens Israeli control over the West Bank by ensuring continuous Israeli control between and the Jordan Valley.4
SodaStream’s success is based, in part, also on the structural advantages of production in Israeli settlements and on the exploitation of Palestinian workers as cheap labour. Settlement production benefits from low rent, special tax incentives, and lax enforcement of environmental and labour protection laws.5
Palestinians employed in the settlement’s industrial zones suffer from severe restrictions of movement and organisation. Their dependence on permits from the Israeli security forces in order to work within the settlements limits their employment options and makes organising almost impossible. Thus, 93% of Palestinian workers in settlements are not unionised.6 Israeli labour laws have been extended to Palestinian workers in the settlements, but not in full. With hardly any governmental enforcement or protection, most Palestinian workers earn less than the Israeli minimum wage and suffer from routine violations of labour rights.7

In April 2008, SodaStream fired a group of 17 Palestinian workers, who protested their work conditions and low wages.8 Following the publication of the story in the Swedish press and the intervention of Kav LaOved, they were rehired under better conditions, dismissed for the second time in 2010, and rehired again.9 However, two leaders of this struggle lost their jobs permanently.

On July 2014, SodaStream fired 60 Palestinian workers, who complained about receiving insufficient food to break the Ramadan fast.10SodaStream stated that “…The entire termination process was done legally, there was a hearing, and the workers were not deprived of compensation payments. …”11

In September 2014, Bedouin women employees at SodaStream’s new factory in the Negev (within Israel proper) complained that they are required to toil 12-hour shifts.12

  1.  UN (2013): 31.20.2014) []
  2.  UN Security Council (1980):  (accessed 10.11.2014) []
  3.  ICRC “Business and International Humanitarian Law, ” (2006).See also, for example, article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions of 1949; articles 32 and 34, Geneva Convention IV; Article 75(2) Additional Protocol I; Article 4(2) Additional Protocol II []
  4.  Who Profits (2011): (accessed 11.10.2014) []
  5.  Who Profits (2011): (accessed 11.10.2014) []
  6.  Majid Sbeih (2011) Palestinian Wage Workers in Israeli Settlements in the West Bank – Characteristics and Work circumstances, The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine in cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Labor. Unpublished. []
  7.  Kav LaOved (2012): (accessed 11.11.2014) []
  8.  Who Profits (2011): (accessed 11.11.2014) []
  9.  Kav LaOved(2012): []
  10.   Bior, H (2014): 11.11.2014) and Hachlili, N (2014): (accessed 11.11.2014) []
  11.  Hachlili, N (2014): accessed 11.11.2014) . Erez Wagner, coordinator of the trade union WAC-MAAN representing the plant’s Palestinian workers responded: “Sixty workers, who are prohibited from bringing food from home because of Jewish dietary laws, found themselves without enough food after the 16-hour fast, […]. (( Hachlili, N (2014): (accessed 11.11.2014) []
  12.  Heruti-Sover, T (2014): (accessed 11.11.2014) []
Directly and indirectly (through shareholding) involved companies Indirect investors through shareholding

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