A second Coronavirus lockdown will begin in Israel on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Hundreds of workers have lost their jobs and the ability to support their families since March and the number of unemployed is expected to grow even further. From the moment workers started returning to the labor market, employers’ ability to cut wages and worsen work conditions also increased. Just this week at Kav LaOved we heard of many outrageous situations: employees forced to work long hours, beyond the number permitted by law, without compensation; a worker that was dismissed after doing a required Coronavirus test; and hourly-workers whose work hours were reduced, and others.
All workers have been affected by the Coronavirus crisis, but those in the lowest income bracket are often the most vulnerable -data shows that 50% of workers earning 5,000 ILS or less per month have been impacted in one way or another. As if this situation was not bad enough, another threat hangs over our heads. According to media reports, the Ministry of Finance is considering cutting minimum wage and decrease pension schemes to ease the financial burden on employers. This proposal should be removed from the public agenda immediately. Now is the time to strengthen workers, not weaken them.
We invite you to join us in advocating for the protection of workers’ rights. In the coming days we will call on the Israeli government to adopt policy initiatives in favor of workers, such as ensuring an economic safety net for workers, as well as a variety of other measures to maintain the rights of all workers—those at risk and those not at risk, Israelis, migrant workers, Palestinians, refugees, men and women.
In doing so, we raise a clear demand to remove policies that are harmful to workers from the agenda and instead create a social safety net and eliminate abusive labor practices. We will detail needed policy initiatives in an upcoming appeal to government ministries and ministers and we would be happy if you follow this initiative and help us publicize these demands.
We at Kav LaOved are embarking on a campaign with a clear slogan: “Workers’ Rights, Now More than Ever.” Against these trends of eroding workers’ rights – there is a need to clearly voice this message, and for every one of us to take action. You can find out more about the campaign, and take part, starting this Thursday and throughout the upcoming weeks on our Facebook page.
Good luck to all of us and Happy New Year.