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					                                                                            Kav LaOved's e-
                                                                                  News
                                                                                Protecting the rights of
                                                                                    migrant workers,
                                                                                Palestinian workers, and
                                                                                          local
                                                                                disadvantaged workers in
                                                                                         Israel
                                                                                      November 2004
Kav LaOved is an Israeli labour rights NGO protecting the rights of the most disadvantaged workers in Israel.
Kav LaOved e-News will be sent approximately once per month. Feedback and comments are welcome.
To unsubscribe, please reply with" remove" in the subject line.
To subscribe, please email externalrelations@kavlaoved.org.il.


Click underlined titles to link to full story or report


NEWS
New regulations concerning pregnant migrant workers: Choose between baby
and job
Kav LaOved petitioned the Supreme Court (Case 6816/04) to order the Ministry of Interior to
draw and publish regulations concerning the legal status of migrant workers during pregnancy
and after birth, and concerning the legal status of children born to legally employed migrant
workers. At the time, different clerks at different registration bureaus were taking different
positions on these issues. Following the petition, the Ministry published new regulations. A
worker, who is at least six months pregnant when losing her work, will be allowed to stay in
Israel on a tourist visa until three months after labour. She must then choose between leaving
Israel with the baby and keeping her job but sending the baby away. Kav LaOved considers
this to be an unacceptable solution. The mother's right to a family, the mother's labour rights,
and the baby's welfare are all undermined by the regulation. Now that the policy is openly
stated, Kav LaOved is preparing a Supreme Court petition to challenge it.

Promising results to campaign against Israeli Group4Securicor subsidiary
The campaign conducted by Kav LaOved and Just Society NGOs against "Hashmira" (50%
owned by Group4Securicor) produces promising results. Following the exposure of labour
rights abuse by Hashmira, and a vigil in front of the home of Igal Shermeister, Hashmira's
major share holder, Mr. Shermeister met with Kav LaOved and Just Society expressing
willingness to resolve the problems we raised. Mr Shermeister agreed to employ labour rights
ombudsmen in all branches, and distribute labour rights information among workers. The
campaign against Hashmira has therefore been put on hold. If, despite the new measures,
workers' complaints continue to reach Kav LaOved and the courts, the campaign will be
renewed.

Israeli Authorities Seek to Dismantle WAC–MAAN
The Registrar of Non-Profit Associations (NPA's) in Israel has decided to dismantle the
Workers Advice Centre (WAC, referred to as Ma'an in Arabic and Hebrew), an NPA set to
advance the interests of under-represented workers, especially Arabs, by organizing them into
work teams, finding them jobs with construction companies, and representing them in their
battles with Israeli bureaucracy. The registrar states that WAC has served as a conduit of
funds to the political party ODA (known as Da’am in Hebrew and Arabic). WAC rejects these
claims. "All of WAC's financial records were provided to the Registrar. He did not find a
single shekel that went from WAC, or through WAC, to the ODA". The real reason for the
witch-hunt appears to be the political background of prominent WAC activists: in the 1980's,
these persons were accused of contact with the PLO, and some were sentenced to time in
prison.
In addition, the registrar report reads: "A suspicion arises that the NPA's activity concerning
aid to illegal foreign workers is against the law." Such a statement puts at least five other
prominent NGOs, including the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Kav LaOved, in
danger. WAC has opened a public campaign in Israel and abroad, insisting on its right to
organize workers.

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Immigration Police harass citizens and tourists
Two British Jews, one of them an Israeli citizen, the other an artist on a week's visit, recount
difficult stories of harassment by the immigration police. The high deportation quotas, 50,000
workers per year, have already led police to misconduct, violence, and unlawful deportation
of workers with valid work permits. Today, new immigrants and even tourists are also in
danger. Click the title to read the personal letters of the two victims.
No problem finding a job, unless it's permanent
""The market is dynamic... Whoever wants to work can go from job to job, checking
matriculation exams in the summer, pretending to be fliers at Ben Gurion in the fall, and so
on. But permanent jobs? That's a bigger problem"... The deputy director-general for research
at the National Insurance Institute, Leah Ahdut, says "the biggest problems in the job market
today are low wages and unstable jobs... the number of people eligible for unemployment...
has dropped by about 40 percent in the last two years". Ahdut is convinced that the reason for
the drop is due to the legal change requiring a person to work at least one year to be eligible
for unemployment. "Apparently, people are working at temporary jobs less than a year, and
when they get fired they don't get anything by coming to us," she says."

Bosses could be made to pay for poor work conditions
"Last week Attorney Yuval Albashan hosted a workshop in Sderot that drafted a bill
prohibiting harmful employment... The bill aims to prevent employers from violating existing
laws on minimum wage, work safety and National Insurance Institute payments, but the bill
also aims to stop any harassment of workers who complain about the terms of their
employment. Rubinstein believes the existing laws do not provide workers with sufficient
protection, particularly those who work in vulnerable formats like part-time work, and that
such formats are based on trying to reduce the employers' responsibility for the workers, their
rights and welfare... Kav LaOved director Hannah Zohar believes that one of the worst
aspects of harmful employment is binding workers to 12 months' or 14 months' work in banks
or cellular phone companies. The workers sign contracts saying that if they quit before the
end of the period or bring about their dismissal, they will be fined NIS 1,500 to NIS 3,500...
Rubinstein says the state is also guilty of harmful employment. The Economics Arrangements
Law, for example, enables the state to sign contracts with companies that violate the
minimum wage law."
REPORTS
Thai Workers in Israel
A study on the working conditions and legal status of Thai workers in Israel

September 2004 Activity Report
Descriptions of important cases handled by Kav LaOved throughout September, including:

        A visit to the Renaissance detention facility for migrant workers
        A case of exploitation and trafficking in the home-nursing sector
        Crooked employment patterns in the security industry

and more...


COURT CASES
        Kav LaOved challenges migrant workers legal status policies in
         Supreme Court
         Following Kav LaOved's legal action, over two years ago a procedure to allow
         workers to change employers has been created (Supreme Court 6880/00). On top of
         being very hard to implement, this procedure suffers from several structural faults.
         One of these faults is that a worker, who has been employed legally for over 4 years, is
         not eligible for the procedure. Such workers have no bargaining power against
         employers, and are therefore exposed to exploitation and abuse. Another fault is that
         workers, who have a police complaint registered against them, cannot renew their
         license. Typically, these are bogus theft and assault complaints, which are filed by
         employers following a conflict over wages with the worker. These complaints are
         made in order to revoke the worker's legal status and expedite deportation. Such files
         are usually easy to close, but the uninformed workers, who do not speak Hebrew, and
         are afraid of arrest and deportation, lack the ability to do so. In two separate petitions,
         we request the Supreme court to allow workers to change employers, even if they have
         been working in Israel legally for more than 4 years, and not to deny workers the right
         to seek employment because of unfounded, un-investigated, and unproved allegations.
        A Thai agriculture worker lost his legal status after his employer confiscated his
         passport and neglected to renew his visa. The worker, who didn't even know he was
         illegal, spent over 3 months in detention before a court petition enabled him to search
         for a new employer. (Administrative Court Case 2597/04)



Kav LaOved, 17 Peretz St., Tel-Aviv 66853, Israel
Tel: +972-3-6883766, Fax: +972-3-6883537
externalrelations@kavlaoved.org.il http://kavlaoved.org.il

				
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