SodaStream, the Israel-based producer of a popular beverage carbonation machine, was forced to lay off its final 74 Palestinian workers after it had been the target of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. SodaStream had already relocated from its Judea and Samaria facility against the backdrop of BDS pressure.
“Today is their final day working with the company, sadly,” SodaStream spokesman Maayan Nave told AFP regarding the Palestinian workers, adding that the company had planned a going-away party for the employees.
SodaStream’s former headquarters were in Mishor Adumim, which is located beyond Israel’s 1967 lines. Before the relocation, SodaStream had employed an estimated 1,300 workers, including 500 Palestinians who were given the same pay and benefits as their Jewish-Israeli colleagues.
Following SodaStream’s October 2015 relocation to Israel’s Negev Desert, the company was forced to lay off most of its Palestinian workers—retaining just 74 of its most experienced Palestinian employees, who then commuted to the new location. Yet after a permit dispute with the Israeli government, the company was forced to lay off those remaining 74 Palestinians.
SodaStream reportedly put in a major effort to secure permits for the workers in question, but were denied.
“It is a tough day for us, and all the SodaStream workers, but this is not the end of the road,” Nave said.