In yesterday’s Ha’aretz, Simone Kurkos provides a glimpse of what the future holds in the viable Palestinian state…
The company doesn't have a name, and I doubt it is even registered. I get 100 shekels per day for nine hours of work. There are 30 employees here. There's hardly any protection against the sun or rain, and the factory has no flooring. In the winter we stand in the mud. There is no toilet, and we are not allowed to leave, because this iron door opens only at 4 P.M. Can you imagine how dirty it gets, with 30 men? Two years ago, I finally found the courage to complain. You know what happened? I was sacked on the spot and sent home without pay. Two weeks later the phone rang. It was my boss. He said he would give me a last chance, but I had to shut up."
And that's what J. did. He doesn't complain about the lack of protective clothes, and he was silent when the boy Namer accidentally shot himself in the abdomen with the electric stapler and was sent home without pay.
But he admits he's furious. "The worst thing is, the manager doesn't really care. It's not that he treats us like animals. He just doesn't see us."
Abdelatif Abu Raye, a young man with bright blue eyes, tells me that several months ago, his hand was sliced in two on a cutting machine in the carton factory. After the accident, his employer sent him home and stopped paying his salary. The accident left him partially paralyzed. The Tul Karm hospital could not perform the operation to save his use of his hand, and he cannot reach an Israeli hospital that would help him.
"My employer didn't pay me any indemnification, and because of my injury I can't find work elsewhere. My magnetic card (the permit to work in
Another worker, Mohammed Abu Harma, was asked five years ago to build a fence around the Rational Systems factory in Nitzanei Hashalom, recalls his son, Majed.
"They used plastic barrels with chemical waste to support the fence. One of these barrels exploded, and my father was injured in the head. He died four days later, leaving my mother with eight children to fend for themselves. We never received any pension or indemnification."
Majed, then 22, had to stop studying to provide for the family. "We have been in court with my father's employer for the last several years, but the judges haven't come to any conclusions yet," he says.
Others tell stories of amputated fingers, injuries and breathing problems deriving from factory work. To hear the men's stories, work accidents due to occupational, safety and health hazards seem to be common practice here.
Need I say more?
[Thanks to Moshe Machover for the link.]