Repeated violations of rights

Same as last year


Workers' rights violations


In April 2021, a waste-sorting plant for the city of Jerusalem operating in the Atarot settlement industrial zone undermined workers’ rights. Some 110 of its Palestinian workers joined Maan Union to fight against exploitative working conditions. Employers used financial constraints imposed by COVID-19 to weaken workers’ unionising efforts. Dozens of workers were forced to take leave of absence without pay, others were to stay on the factory grounds without appropriate arrangements if they were to keep their jobs, and nine workers were fired, including union leaders.

Workers excluded from labour protections

Palestinians’ access to work in Israel and the illegal settlements is tightly controlled through a repressive permit system, security checks and checkpoints. Only Palestinians with valid work permits can be “legally” employed by Israeli businesses. Out of the estimated 133,000 Palestinian workers in Israel and the illegal settlements, roughly 94,000 had a work permit. The overwhelming majority (99%) of permit holders are men, and most work in the construction sector.

Permits are issued for the duration of up to six months but can be arbitrarily annulled at any time by employers or Israel’s security services. Employers often used the threat of annulling permits to discipline workers who join unions, demand rights, or are involved in any form of political activity.

Right to collective bargaining

At Tel Aviv University, Israel, the management refused to hold negotiations with the Research and Project Workers Employees' Committee, despite it being recognised as representative. The committee had to seek remedy through the courts, which finally ruled in its favour in December 2021.

Prosecution of union leaders for participating in strikes

In August 2021, employees at Pelephone and Bezeq International, two Israeli telecommunications companies, organised a strike near the controlling shareholder's house. They were forcibly expelled by the police, who also arrested several striking workers.

Workers’ rights in law

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