SodaStream lays off final Palestinian workers


SodaStream lays off final Palestinian workers

Drinks machine-maker SodaStream has laid off its last Palestinian workers, saying the Israeli government denied them work permits after it moved operations from the West Bank to Israel.

The company closed its factory in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank last year following a campaign to boycott goods linked to settlements. Activists also criticized Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson after she was named as SodaStream’s first global brand ambassador in 2014.

Many of the 74 Palestinians who were laid off Monday worked at the firm for at least five years, the Times of Israel reported.

More than 500 Palestinians lost their jobs when the West Bank factory closed in October, and its operations were moved to the town of Levahim in southern Israel.

The 74 Palestinian workers moved to the new factory but the Israeli government refused to grant them work permits past the end of February, SodaStream said.

The company threatened to stop manufacturing unless the workers were given permits, but later backed down and laid them off, AFP reported.

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