Activities 2023

During a Hearing Session held by AMAN Coalition regarding the Minimum Wage of Workers in the Gaza Strip: Recommendation to have the Gaza Strip Labor Union implement an initiative to address the Minimum Wage issue for Gaza’s workers

 During a Hearing Session held by AMAN Coalition regarding the Minimum Wage of Workers in the Gaza Strip: Recommendation to have the Gaza Strip Labor Union implement an initiative to address the Minimum Wage issue for Gaza’s workers

During a Hearing Session held by AMAN Coalition regarding the Minimum Wage of Workers in the Gaza Strip:

Recommendation to have the Gaza Strip Labor Union implement an initiative to address the Minimum Wage issue for Gaza’s workers


Gaza – With the attendance of Gaza’s Ministry of Labor and several human rights centers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and media institutions, AMAN Coalition for Accountability and Integrity held a meeting on public policies related to the Minimum Wage of workers in the Gaza Strip. This was due to the failure of Gaza’s competent parties to apply the Minimum Wage for both regulated and informal private sector workers. This weakened citizens’ trust towards official parties, which were unable to abide by the law that guarantees citizens’ dignity and a decent life for workers and their families.


This meeting came in light of the deteriorating situation of male and female workers in the Gaza Strip, many of whom are deprived of their rights and the enjoyment of wages. This is especially true for those who receive a remuneration that is much less than the Minimum Wage stipulated in the Palestinian law. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, unemployment rates rose to 44% in the Gaza Strip and 12% in the West Bank.


The meeting participants agreed to recommend the reactivation of the Wages Committee to review the issue of wages in the Gaza Strip. This will enable the said committee to thoroughly examine the economic situation and review the Minimum Wage on that basis. The attending parties also consented to having the Labor Union implement an initiative that examines and tackles the Minimum Wage issue - in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and different business owners - to find the best way to reach a balance that enhances the dignity and rights of workers.


The decision to raise the Minimum Wage does not include details about how to apply it:


In 2021, the Council of Ministers issued Decision No. (4) regarding the Minimum Wage amount in Palestine, whereas the Minimum Wage was raised to 1,880 Shekels per month (85 shekels per day and 10.5 Shekels per hour, effective at the beginning of 2022). However, this decision did not specify how the Minimum Wage will be applied. Moreover, the said decision was not implemented in the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing political division. This was further aggravated by the absence of national employment policies for supporting Gaza’s private sector and the failure to activate appropriate measures for monitoring the operating establishments. Furthermore, labor unions in the Gaza Strip failed to protect workers’ rights, leading to the failure to apply the Palestinian Labor Law and international standards related to workers’ rights.


AMAN: We have received several complaints and live testimonies from male and female whistleblowers, who expressed their grievance towards poor working environments, coupled with deteriorating living conditions.


The meeting was commenced by AMAN’s Gaza Office Director Mr. Wael Ba’alousha. Ba’alousha discussed the incoming complaints and live testimonies of whistleblowers, who expressed their grievances to AMAN’s Advocacy Unit as well as human rights organizations. These grievances were posted on social media platforms. For example, some workers of commercial establishments confirmed to AMAN that their salaries are calculated at the rate of only 2 Shekels per hour, with shifts of up to 12 work hours in unhealthy and unprofessional conditions. Moreover, it was noted that the labor market situation indicates the presence of several gaps and shortcomings at the level of employment systems and administration in the labor market. It was also seen that there is discrimination between working groups in light of rising unemployment rates, low wages, non-abidance with the terms and conditions of work and Minimum Wage, tampering with work contracts, ineffective action by labor unions, and poor public monitoring over commercial, industrial, and craftwork establishments.


The Minimum Wage that is supposed to be applied in the Gaza Strip is lower than the Abject Poverty Line


On her part, Mrs. Marwa Abu Odeh, Advocacy and Accountability Coordinator at AMAN, presented the current reality of the Minimum Wage, noting that the applicable Minimum Wage in the Gaza Strip is 1,450 Shekels, compared to 1,880 Shekels in the West Bank. However, the current reality shows that, in the best-case scenario, the average salary reaches only 1,000 Shekels in the Gaza Strip, and in the worst-case scenario, it reaches 700 Shekels. Marwa Abu Odeh also showed how the Abject Poverty Line reaches 1,974 Shekels, which is the amount that reflects basic family needs, such as food, drink, and housing. Meanwhile, the Normal Poverty Line reaches 2,740 Shekels, which reflects the above-mentioned basic needs plus education and transportation expenses for an average family of 5 persons.


Lack of Workers’ Awareness of their Pivotal Role in Demanding their Rights and Enhancing Accountability


On his part, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Labor (in Gaza) Mr. Ihab Al-Ghoussain stressed the importance of having all relevant parties apply the Labor Law to ensure the protection of workers’ rights. He also highlighted the importance of taking Minimum Wage determinants into consideration, such as the poverty line, dependency rate, consumption rate, and average expenditure per household. Al-Ghoussein discussed a number of factors that hinder the application of the Minimum Wage, noting that Gaza Strip governorates were not represented when the Palestinian government formed a committee to review wages. Consequently, the Minimum Wage was adopted and approved without examining the economic reality of the Gaza Strip, especially since the same amount was adopted for all sectors and professions. Al-Ghussein also highlighted the workers’ lack of awareness of their vital role of promoting accountability and demanding their rights. He added that workers should submit complaints to the Ministry of Labor while they are on duty. The failure to do so hindered the effective monitoring and accountability of employers regarding the violation of workers’ rights. Therefore, Al-Ghussein recommended the formation of a committee to study and review wages in the Gaza Strip.



Multiple Comments:


Director of the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center (DWRC) in Gaza, Adv. Ali Al-Jarjawi, noted that the Ministry of Labor took a decision in 2012 to compensate for injuries on the basis of the Minimum Wage. However, this decision was rescinded in 2020 due to the courts’ non-abidance to it. Adv. Al-Jarjawi hopes that this decision would be reapplied and implemented, as well as approving the end-of-service gratuity on the basis of the Minimum Wage.


Moreover, researcher Hussein Hammad from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights indicated that the current situation requires the intervention of public authorities and relevant parties to regulate work hours, activate the monitoring role of the Ministry, and conduct a comprehensive dialogue with all stakeholder parties to reach a legal solution to this problem.


Also, researcher Anas Al-Barqouni from the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) stated that the solution lies in the Ministry of Labor’s gradual application of the Minimum Wage policy, starting from the employment projects implemented by the Ministry or under its supervision.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor’s Legal Advisor, Adv. Muhammad Haddad, stressed the Ministry of Labor’s role of regulating the labor market. He added that the Ministry has the General Inspection Department, which continuously and effectively monitors the labor market to ensure the upholding of workers’ rights and guarantee a suitable work environment for them. He also pointed out that the Ministry’s Guidance Committee provides advice to all departments to improve the mechanisms of monitoring the labor market.


Head of the Labor Relations Unit, Mr. Shadi Sbeih, stated that the Ministry of Labor received 755 complaints in 2022, out of which 560 labor issues were successfully solved. This reflects an effective accountability in terms of tackling workers’ complaints by the Ministry. Also, the Ministry of Labor took practical measures to bring about justice regarding the complaints received from cleaning workers, including submitting recommendations to the Ministry of Finance to exclude companies from their tenders if they do not uphold workers’ rights. Hence, a special clearance from the Ministry of Labor [showing their upholding of workers’ rights] became one of the requirements of companies that take part in governmental tenders. This was done to ensure that all companies that participate in these tenders do not violate the Labor Law. Also, it was pointed out that the monthly salary of cleaning workers was actually 700 Shekels.





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