Monday, 5 May 2014

Rights of Arab women working in Israel being violated


Kayan feminist organisation launched a media campaign in Israel to counter the violations in working women's rights in the private sector.
According to grassroots organisation working within the Palestinian community, Palestinian women working in the private sector earn low salaries in violation of labour laws. The private sector also exploits the difficult economic conditions Palestinians live in and the lack of employment opportunities.
The campaign comes after research showed that the majority of Palestinian workers in Israel suffer from a lack of access to basic rights, despite the small number of female workers. It pointed out that the proportion of women in employment does not exceed 28 per cent of the total number of Palestinian women in those areas.
Many factors affect the Palestinian women's lack of economic participation in the labour market including a policy of discrimination and exclusion adopted by Israeli institutions against the Palestinian community.
The Director of Kayan, Rafah Anbtawi, reported to Al-Arabi Al-Gadid that the first goal of this campaign is to pinpoint the violations being committed, especially in relation to the minimum wage, annual leave and overtime. She added: "We also want to know the methods of abuse practiced."
According to a human rights report, 88 per cent of workers earn less than the official minimum wage. In addition, 68 per cent do not receive payment for overtime, nor are they permitted leave for official holidays.
Fatima Khateeb, one of the workers in the village of Dar Hana in the Galilee, told Al-Arabi Al-Gadid: "I worked for a year at a farm. I worked for more than 10 hours a day and was paid only 100 shekels [£17.15]."
In Israel the minimum wage is about 23 shekels (£3.94) per hour, but most private institutions do not comply with the law.
Khateeb added: "I know my rights and responsibilities. I tried to bring about a change, but I did not find the support network amongst working women who have accepted the unjust working conditions for their difficult circumstances."
Khateeb is not the only case, many cases are often spotted by local and international reports about the exploitation of girls graduating from high school, who are forced to postpone their studies for a year or two, due to restrictions imposed on them by racist Israeli universities.
The exploitation of these girls comes from academic employers, legal firms and medical clinics all of whom pay especially low wages of no more than 15 shekels (£2.57) per hour.
Kayan's lawyer Rawya Handgulw said: "Our data indicates gross violations of basic workers' rights without any exception and also refers to the lack of awareness amongst employers."

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