What happened this month at KLO?
Due to the corona crisis and its impact on the Israeli economy, we have started providing more support for Israeli workers. In the past week a hearing took place as part of our petition asking for procedures that will finally enable workers in agriculture to receive their social benefits. And also: looking at the the number of work accidents in the first half of 2020, it seems that they are in decline. We hope that this is not due to the Coronavirus situation and the slower pace of things, but due to an increase in awareness.
KLO General Assembly
The annual general KLO assembly will take place on the 12th of August at 6:00 pm. We will meet on Zoom and, to the degree possible, at the Avraham Hostel, Levontin 21. For further details see this link.
Anyone who wishes to join and register as a member of the organization or an executive committee or would like to raise an issue for discussion should please register before the 22nd of July.
Focusing more on Israeli workers
Unfortunately, we are all witnessing the destruction of livelihood and the economic struggle of many Israelis. In the shadow of this crisis, work conditions have become more exploitative. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have received thousands of requests from Israeli workers. In the last month, we have developed a long-term approach to supporting Israeli workers. Advocate Tamar Niv has transitioned to managing KLO’s assistance to Israeli workers and we have re-opened the hotline and are dedicating more time to requests coming from Israeli workers. The goal is to support individual rights while addressing overall principle issues affecting large segments of the work forces, such as the failure to pay pensions or social benefits.
Petition for social benefits
On the 29th of June, the High Court heard our petition demanding that employers pay social benefits for migrant workers. The legal framework had been approved the year before, but has still not been published. due to stern objections by the agriculture lobby pressuring the Minister of Finance- the regulations were not implemented.
Another thing to be added to the list of labor rights violations faced by agricultural workers: according to data recently collected by KLO, 83% of workers do not receive legal minimum wage, 95% never met an inspector during their work, and 52,8% live in a much smaller space than the law requires (4 square meters per person). We have relayed our observations to the High Court and are waiting for a response.
Work accidents- looking at the first half of 2020
Compared to the amount of cases reported to us to last year, we can see that the numbers have not significantly changed- 156 accidents occurred this year compared to 164 accidents last year. But the number of fatalities has decreased from 44 to 25. The decline is especially visible in the construction sector, which saw 25 fatalities last year, but only 14 during the same period of time this year. It is not yet possible to tell if this decrease is the result of the economic downturn or due to public pressure, awareness and legal requirements. We are hoping, of course, that these are the first signs of change, but we are aware that most of our demands have not been met so far. There still aren’t enough supervisors in the field and safety is not being given enough attention. Crane maintenance must be regulated and all breaches in safety met with legal fines. Sites with poor safety records should be closed permanently if needed and contractors must be removed from lists of eligible bidders for government contracts if they have ignored safety requirements. The list of course does not end here. We will continue to update you on this issue.