In 2018 we stood by the workers’ side in various fronts, and continued doing what we do best: leading the fight to change discriminatory practices in the Israeli labor market.  Among other things we promoted reforms bettering the safety conditions for workers, made services more accessible and demanded the realization of rights. We also managed to file petitions in the name of the most disadvantaged workers’, “reminded” the authorities of their role to enforce the labor laws, and provided an address for people who do not have a place to turn to.

Thousands of workers arrived to Kav LaOved during 2018, convinced they are alone in the world, and left with the money owed to them - knowing they are seen.
The struggle to end construction work accidents produces systematic change

The campaign against construction accidents, which we have been leading for the past three years, reached this year a boiling point. At the beginning of the year the Ministry of Labor announced that it was going to decrease the rate of accidents by imposing fines on construction contractors, with the conviction that “they will receive the message through their pockets”. Though the operation was not carried out in its fullest, it brought to the surface important matters we had been promoting, such as the need for improving the enforcement and oversight of the contractors. This year also saw the launch of the scaffolding reform, which started off with a “big promise” for change and ended up (after some political turnovers) with legislation that intends to remove dangerous scaffolding and reshape the face of construction sites. This particular case sheds light on the impact our advocacy work had on changing regulations, which hold the potential of saving lives of workers. Moreover, we were pleased to see - this summer - that Kav LaOved, alongside other CSO’s and activists, had managed to pressure the Histadrut, the largest Israeli Labor Union, to join the struggle. Never the less, although the Histadrut is a very strong actor – we find that the agreement it signed with the state is insufficient in providing adequate protections for the workers. When we thought we had already seen everything, on the final day of 2018 (better late than never) the new “Peles” unit, a joint unit of the police and the labor ministry, was formed. This unit is intended to carry out investigation of accidents in the construction sector.
The Fight For The Right To Love Heats Up

KLO’s caregiving department does a lot of extraordinary work. Our devoted team of volunteers and workers are able to reach out to many workers, retrieve funds and promote change. While all the work done in this department is important – the struggle for the heart stands out. Over the past several years, we have represented 12 couples of migrant caregivers in individual appeals, demanding the Population and Immigration Authority to enable them to be in relationships in Israel. The right to love - and be in a relationship – is a basic one, grounded in law and derived from the most basic of ethical principles. As a worker’s rights organization that acts to better the livelihood of migrant workers, we see it as our role to take upon ourselves principled action on this issue. And indeed, migrant workers’ freedom to be in a relationship was discussed in a historical court hearing, which is expected to lead to a verdict that will hopefully remove this unjust procedure. As of today the couple, whom in their name we are appealing, is left hanging: they are still in debt due to the loans they took to pay for their placement fees, 60 miles separate them at all times, and the uncertainty of their future is nerve-wrecking. This verdict is critical for the lives of these workers, but no matter the outcome, we will continue to fight for migrant workers’ humanity.
Laying The Foundation For Fair Employment

Approximately 35,000 refugees and asylum seekers currently live in Israel. It seems that over the past several years we’ve met just about all of them. This hardworking community encounters daily obstacles when facing an employer or the government. Since our job is to remove obstacles, and we know how to help people who don’t speak the language and are unfamiliar with the law or how to realize their rights - asylum seekers know to turn to us. This year, with the collapse of UHNCR’s framework of solutions for the asylum seekers, uncertainty prevailed and once again the future of this community became unclear. The government responded to the new reality by adopting a middle-way policy: accepting the fact the asylum seekers reside in Israel, but encouraging them to leave by applying economic pressure. The deposit law, deducting 20% of workers’ wages was conceived and pushed this community into harsher poverty conditions.

KLO has challenged this law – submitting a petition to the High Court demanding that this law be overturned. One of our arguments is that the government attempts to deport people who cannot be deported. In addition to the fact that the government is unable to offer a reasonable solution to this population, but it is also incapable of enforcing proper mechanisms for the implementation of this unjust law. For example, people’s money is being deducted but not being deposited into their accounts.  Recently our petition led to a positive exemption of certain groups from the deposit law, and in order for a maximum of workers to enjoy this option and not fall through the cracks, we held a series of trainings to aid organizations and government agencies, explaining the regulations and providing tools for the realization of the workers’ rights. We hope that the judges, who will rule on this matter, will read this interview with the Population and Immigration Authority’s CEO, who calls to return to UNHCR’s plan and remove the deposit law. Fair employment is the foundation for a fair society.
Shedding light on invisible workers in the fields

In 2018 we stood by Thai agriculture workers - 23,000 people who plant and pick the crops that sustain us. We have been meeting them both at our offices and in the fields they work in, and have been gathering and publishing statistics, so that the public and the employers will recognize the workers’ rights. When missiles were fired in the South of Israel, many of the places that were eventually struck  were the fields and agricultural lands where the workers live and work, without any adequate shelters. During the days of fighting we informed the workers of the ”Home Front Command”'s guidelines and helped make their voice heard on various platforms. Towards the end of the year the BBC published an extensive report about Thai workers, and brought to the surface the situation of their exploitive employment, a worrisome death toll and neglect of basic needs. The televised report to which we contributed, received significant attention on Israeli media. Despite the public atmosphere and the disinfecting sunlight, the Minister of Finance chose to renounce a signed agreement that was meant to ensure the realization of Thai workers’ social rights. In the case he will continue to refuse to support this step - we will consider turning to legal avenues demanding the implementation of the agreement.
Promoting The Reform in Employment of Palestinian workers In Israel

Palestinian workers have historically been placed at the very bottom of the workforce. This is clearly linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to difficulties workers experience in realizing their rights. Ever since Kav LaOved was established it has been acting to improve the situation of Palestinian workers. As part of our work we filed a petition to the Supreme Court in order to remove “The Jordan Valley Regulations”, which discriminate against Palestinian workers who seek justice in Labor Courts. Our petition was denied, with disturbing reasoning, but the final word on the matter has yet to be said. When the government shows indifference to Palestinian workers’ rights, their entitlement for paid sick leave, compensation in the case of work accident and overall fair employment - we stand up to point out the systematic faults and offer alternatives. This year also saw a report we published on Palestinian workers in Israel, where you may find more information on this disturbing issue. The report was launched in a conference where experts and activists spoke about the various aspects of the Palestinian employment model. We will continue this year too in our fight for the rights of Palestinians who are employed in Israel, and push for the implementation of the delayed reform: in order to shatter the corrupt method of brokerage fees, to disconnect the dependency of workers on “fictitious employers”, and make sure the funds allocated for the workers will not disappear in the Ministry of Finance or in private pockets. Down with the occupation of labor!
We wish to end this newsletter on a personal note: thank you to all those who followed us this year, to those who have been reading, showing interest, contributing and asking questions. Thank you for criticizing, remarking and supporting us. Kav LaOved’s work is, for most part, done quietly, out of the spotlights and without “glory”. So when we do speak up - it is great to realize that we are not alone.
2019 - We’re ready for you.
Kav LaOved - Worker’s Hotline
Help us show workers they are not alone in their fight for just employment! A monthly donation to Kav LaOved will assist workers in standing up for their rights. Any new donation of at least 300 NIS (approx. $85.00 USD total) - or donations that triple previous ones - will be matched by one of our funding partners.

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Mercaz HaBshorah
Phone: 04-6082228
Fax: 153-4-6082228

Wednesday, Friday
Herzl 18, Floor 2
Phone: 04-8643350
Fax: 04-8644238

Hotline Opening Hours:

Monday, Thursday

and via email at
Tel Aviv
Nahalat Binyamin 75, Floor 4
Phone: 03-6883766
Fax: 03-6883537

All donations will allow "Kav LaOved" to help workers get their rights at work and the money taken from them by their employers. Even a fixed contribution of 10 NIS per month. To donate by direct debit bank or credit card deposit contribution click here. Association account: Bank Hapoalim branch 781 Account 431095 in the name "Kav LaOved". To send a check to the offices of the association via mail: Kav LaOved PO Box 2319 ​​Tel Aviv 61022
Donations to Kav LaOved within Israel are income tax deductible under Section 46. Tax-deductible donations from abroad, by New Israel Fund. For more info: hagar@kavlaoved.org.il
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