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Report shows deterioration in workers rights

December 11, 2006. Globes
10% of the Israeli workforce is employed through manpower agencies, without rights, in contrast to 2% in Europe.

Orit Bar Gil and Shay Niv The violation of workers rights continues to grow, especially for weaker populations like new immigrants, Arabs, youth, women, seniors and foreigners. This was the conclusion of the Civil Rights Association report on labor market trends, at the start of Civil Rights Week.

According to the Adv. Michal Tadjer, who prepared the report, workers in weaker population groups suffer from lower wages, lower workforce participation and discrimination. She says that in a world of free market competition and efficiency, a harmful mode of employment is created, because of the sale of companies, their mergers and divisions and the move towards outsourcing.

Tager believes that the only way to protect the workers is through powerful trade unions, however because of the move from collective agreements to personal contracts, the workers ability to organize has been harmed. The proportion of unionized workers has fallen from 85% in 1980 to 32% in 2003.

An additional example of the harm done to workers is the rise in the number of part time temporary employees. There are currently 145,000 part time employees in the country. Others have been employed for years with the same employer but maintained on "temporary" status.

It is estimated that 10-20% of employees do not receive payslips, are not registered with National Insurance and do not receive social benefits. Other phenomena include maintenance of employees as freelancers, through sub-contractors and other means.

According to the report, 10% of the workforce in Israel are contract employees, compared with 2% in Europe. The wages of contract employees are up to 40% lower than the average wage and only 5% of them are paid NIS 25 per hour or more.

46% of contractor employees work in the public sector. Tadjer states that the ever-growing violation of workers' rights is being encouraged by the state.

It is estimated that 50-70% of workers who should receive minimum wage, receive less. Many workers do not get paid overtime, delayed salaries are becoming widespread, as are illegal deductions and dismissals without severance pay.

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