Skip to main content

Official PA daily lauds Israel's treatment of Palestinian workers

     "Whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers - for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights.
An interview conducted by Al-Hayat Al-Jadida with a representative group of Palestinian workers revealed that those working for Israelis receive much higher salaries than their colleagues employed by Palestinians. In addition, those working for Israelis receive their pensions directly or through the lawyer representing the union of professional organizations in their region, while Palestinians working for Palestinian employers receive their pensions [only] after negotiating with them, and after many deductions, or through a personal appeal to court ...
Furthermore, those working for Palestinian employers stated unanimously that they work without medical insurance, as [insurance] is not required by the Palestinian Labor Law, and that they receive no compensation for their travel expenses, while the Israeli employers, in most cases, pay their workers' travel expenses in both directions.
A female worker in the agriculture sector, who asked to go by the name 'Nadia,' says: 'For over five years, I have been receiving a daily salary of 50 shekels for my work in agriculture, and the salary has stayed the same. That's how it is for those working for Palestinians in agriculture. '
By contrast, Muhammad Hassan, a resident of a village in the Jordan Valley who works in the agriculture sector in the settlements, says: 'I receive a daily salary of over 100 shekels for picking vegetables, and every day a bus takes us to work and back.' He explains: 'The only cases in which a Palestinian worker does not receive the salary his Israeli [employer] determined for him are those cases in which the middleman is Palestinian. This is because he employs the workers at his own expense, and he is the one who pays their salaries, which puts the worker at risk of being exploited or having his wages withheld.'
Fuad Qahawish, who works as a waiter in a restaurant, says: 'I work 10 hours a day and receive a monthly salary of not more than 1,900 shekels, and we have no additional rights like yearly vacations, travel expenses and so on.' He reveals that 'my colleagues who do the same work for Israelis receive 4,000 shekels a month for the same number of hours.'
Saleh Al-Haj Musa notes: 'I work eight hours in an Israeli restaurant near the Dead Sea and receive a salary of over 4,000 shekels, and my salary will increase because they are required to pay minimum wage [for Palestinian workers].' He added: 'They treat us well, and we receive our pensions easily - if not directly through an agreement with the employer, then through the lawyer of the union.' Muhammad Al-Hinnawi, a construction worker, says: 'I receive a daily salary of 70 shekels, without pension, and I have no other choice.' By contrast, Thaer Al-Louzi, who used to work for an Israeli concrete factory, notes: 'I received a salary of 140 shekels a day. Now, after I was injured, I receive a salary through the insurance.' He adds: 'The work conditions are very good, and include transportation, medical insurance and pensions. These things do not exist with Palestinian employers.'
Khalil Qteit says: 'I work in an Israeli aluminum factory in Mishor Adumim (industrial zone in the West Bank) and receive 23 shekels an hour. We receive our salaries according to an increasing gradual payment system for additional hours. In addition, we have a savings fund, which deducts 200 shekels a month from our salaries, to which the factory adds 400 shekels. All this accumulates in the workers' fund and is added to the pension we receive when we leave.' He adds: 'We have yearly vacations and unlimited sick leave of up to 99 days a year. Furthermore, the factory and the Israeli Workers' Union strictly adhere to the safety guidelines in addition to the yearly physical checkups carried out by doctors. Our travel expenses are paid in both directions, and workers have insurance for injuries incurred during shifts.' By contrast, a worker at one of the Palestinian factories in the district of Jericho, who asked to remain anonymous, says: 'I receive a salary of 1,800 shekels, without [bonuses for] extra hours, even though I work late every week. There is no such thing as yearly vacations, but our travel expenses are paid...'
'Minimum wage is in itself unjust to the Palestinian worker in any workplace, and is only enough to pay for falafel for one family for a month. This in itself constitutes a crime against the Palestinian worker,' says Wael Nazif, CEO of the Union of Palestinian Workers' Organizations in the Jericho district. Nazif emphasizes: 'It is inconceivable that the Palestinian worker should receive his full rights from the Israeli employers, but not from the Palestinian ones.' He adds: 'When the workers' unions agreed on the issue of minimum wage, it was for a one-year trial period. Two years have passed, yet this issue has still not been reexamined.' ...
Surveys and interviews conducted by Al-Hayat Al-Jadida clarify that the salaries of workers employed by Palestinians amount to less than half the salaries of those who work for Israeli employers in the areas of the Israel-occupied West Bank, which house factories, tourist facilities and agricultural lands.
In addition, Israel has forced its employers in the West Bank to pay [Israeli] minimum wage, which is 23 shekels an hour, to Palestinian workers. However, the PA passed a law, but does not force the employers in the PA areas to implement it, thereby exposing the worker to potential exploitation. In addition, the Palestinian worker receives nearly all of his rights from his Israeli employers - even if through the courts of law - [and he] is entitled to yearly vacations, sick leave, [bonuses for] additional work hours and is paid for his travel expenses, while the majority of Palestinian employers do not provide these benefits to their workers, except for a few institutions which have begun implementing them without pressure from official parties."
Click to view bulletin

»   View analysis citing this item