PGFTU acts as Palestinian contractor threatens and harasses Palestinian workers in settlement

The Salfit and Qalqilia branches of the PGFTU intervened on behalf of workers at a large textile factory in the Barkan industrial zone.

Workers complained that they were fired from their workplace in retaliation for refusing to drop the charges they had filed in the Tel Aviv Labor Court.

The charges claim hundreds of thousands of shekels for the differences between minimum wage and actual wages paid to workers as well as social benefits required by law.

The workers also complained of an unsuitable work environment, long work hours, dust, cold, etc. In addition, the factory did not cover expenses incurred by workers due to work related accidents.

According to the workers, the factory does not even have a first aid kit, even though the sewing and weaving machines often hurt workers.

Since the complaint was filed on April 2008, the Palestinian contractor is pressuring the workers the drop their charges. The workers claim that the contractor is acting according to the factory management requests. They further claim that the role of the contractor is solely to transport them to the factory, but the contractor is taking initiatives that are beyond his job description, and actively threatens their livelihood. Some of the workers have chosen the drop their charges in return to promises of increased wages.

Due to the difficult work relations some female workers have stopped working in the factory, and set up their own factory in the village of Barkin. These workers claim that factory management has retaliated by attempting to prevent them from shipping their products.

“The contractor threatened to burn our textile plant down and haunt us wherever we find work” said one of the workers.

The PGFTU in Salfit has decided to get the Palestinian Authority involvement to prevent the contractor from continuing to threaten the workers and former workers of the factory.

The workers further stated:
“We are a small example of workers, whose rights are being trampled on daily. Among us are workers who get even less than half of what we legally deserve. Where are you, people of conscience? What is your position on these issues? We are asking for your help since we are confident that you will assist us in getting justice, and that we will receive what we legally deserve.”