Chinese Construction Workers In Israel: Plan To Bring 20,000 From China Criticized By Opponents Who Warn Of Labor Exploitation
The following is an excerpt from Michael Kaplan | September 21, 2015 | ibtimes.com |
An Israeli plan to bring 20,000 Chinese construction workers to the Middle Eastern state has come under criticism by opponents who have warned that the laborers will hurt the local economy and be susceptible to exploitation. As opposed to laborers from other countries with bilateral agreements with Israel, Chinese workers come into Israel through contracts between Israeli and Chinese companies, often paying middlemen to secure their permits.
“Importing workers like this will seriously hurt employment, reduce the wages of poor workers in Israel and perpetuate the technological lag in the construction industry,” Zionist Union Knesset member Shelly Yacimovich said, adding also that Chinese workers in Israel have often been exploited by the agencies that have arranged their employment, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported Sunday.
The Israeli construction sector already consists of about 6,000 foreign workers, including about 3,700 workers from China. The two countries have sought to reach a bilateral labor agreement in the last few years, but have disagreed over a number of employment issues. The Chinese government has said it will not agree to allow its workers to build housing in controversial West Bank settlements, where about 600,000 Israelis live, ynetnews reported. Building in the West Bank accounts for some 3 percent of all new Israeli construction.
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