The BWI-affiliated Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) made an urgent appeal to Israeli employers to ensure the decent working conditions of Palestinian workers employed in their labour market and settlements. The union called on employers to secure the health and safety of all workers, including migrant workers from Palestine. It also said that COVID-19 regulations should be fully implemented at the workplaces, including physical distancing and full personal protective equipment (PPEs) for all workers.
“Palestinians workers working for Israeli companies should be protected by the same laws on health and safety as Israeli workers, and should not risk working in unhealthy working environment without PPEs,” PGFTU Secretary General Shaher Saad said.
The PGFTU said that despite an increase in the daily wage of construction workers, from ILS 1,200 to 1,400 (US$ 334-389), during the crisis, there is still a high risk posed to workers, as the increase tempts them to take job offers without considering their health and safety. The union also warned of a similar danger, where workers are employed in medical waste facilities without providing them with internationally-recognized occupational safety and health equipment.
Palestinian workers believe that the salaries provided by Israeli employers are more than double the wages they receive from their country. However, Palestinians working for Israelis are not protected by labour laws covering Israeli workers, such as health benefits, sick leave, vacation time and other workers’ rights, including non-discrimination based on gender and religion.