Palestina - Difficulties for Palestinians working in areas under Israeli labour laws (2011)

Some 22,000 Palestinians work in Israeli settlements in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and service industries with another estimated 10,000 working informally. In 2010 it was reported that the Palestinian Authorities (PA) announced a ban prohibiting Palestinians from working in West Bank settlements as part of a wider campaign that included a national boycott of settlements. However, the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) stated that they would not stop workers from working in settlements until the PA could provide alternative employment.

Palestinians working in these areas were employed under Jordanian labour law until 2007 when a court ruled that Israeli law applied equally to both Israeli and Palestinian workers, thus affording Palestinians the same conditions. However, the law is not often enforced, is poorly monitored and in the event of abuse, it is very difficult for Palestinian workers to obtain redress and take a case to court. In many instances employers continue to pay Palestinian workers less than the Israeli minimum wage, and they work in poor health and safety conditions. While the legal minimum wage in Israel is approximately USD 5.50 an hour, Palestinians in settlements earn USD 2 an hour or less. Increasingly children are also found working in settlements, often in construction with poor safety conditions and no insurance.

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