Israel - Palestinian textile workers abused (2010)

According to a November 2009 report, most workers from a textile factory in the Barkan Israeli industrial zone received 7 – 12 shekels an hour (approximately a third of the legal minimum wage). Workers did not receive a pay slip, nor any medical or social benefits including overtime and holidays. In April 2008, the Kav LaOved NGO helped 47 Palestinian workers from the Barkan factory to sue their employer in the Labour Court. The complaints were also made to the management, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour in Israel and the Civil Administration. However, the authorities have not yet visited the factory nor made any response. Several of the original complainants have been forced to drop their cases because they and their families could not afford not to work.

In spring 2009, workers who have continued with the lawsuit have been repeatedly fired in contravention of court injunctions ordering them to be reinstated. Some have also been threatened with violence by the local sub-contractor if they try to find other sources of income. In June 2009, one of the female workers, Jamila Yassin, finally reached a court agreement over payments owed, and in November another ten workers had their cases discussed by the courts.

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