Exploitation of migrant workers in Israel

20 Nov

According to the NLC who recently released a report by Kav LaOved, an Israeli and Palestinian NGO that seeks to protect workers’ rights, many migrant workers in Israel’s agricultural sector are being exploited and face slave labor conditions.

In the report, Agricultural Migrant Workers in Israel, the organisation documented various human rights violations such as workers being coerced to work longer hours than the legal requirements; workers not being paid for overtime work; salaries being delayed or lower than the minimum wage; and high incidences of work-related accidents as a result of safety codes violations e.t.c.

Amongst the findings are the disturbing allegations of the trafficking of Thai migrant workers amongst farmers,

… Just as the local farmer (whether in a Kibbutz, Moshav or an individual farm) is allocated water and land by the State, the farmer is also entitled to a Thai workers allocation, provided the farmer really has a farm and does not trade workers. If a farmer manages to accrue sufficient land and water allowances, he also controls migrant worker allowances. As a result an agricultural oligarchy has been created in Israel, which illegally leases land, water and migrant worker allocations from former farmers…

In one case,

… The Rabbi of a large Moshav in the Eshkol Region, who does not farm, recently hired out his three Thai workers to another farmer for 800 shekels per month per person. The Rabbi gave a discount because the normal rate is 1,000 shekels per month without invoices. Most of the agricultural black market deals are done in cash, and the agricultural establishment seems to be encouraging them…

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