Yachimovitch Charges Hadera Paper With Paying Indian Workers Illegally Mean Employment Terms

Hadera Paper, which is part of Nochi Dankner's IDB group, is employing a large contingent of Indian workers in violation of Israeli labor laws, according to a parliamentary query submitted to Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) by MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor).

Hadera Paper says the workers are employed by a large Indian firm that is installing a paper recycling plant for Hadera Paper here, and not by the Israeli company.

Yachimovich's parliamentary inquiry was prompted by information provided by Kav La'Oved, the Worker's Hotline for the Protection of Worker's Rights. It alleges the Indians are being paid NIS 2,500 a month for six days of work per week and are on the job every day for nine to 11 hours.

The rights group also alleges that the Indians' employer is holding their passports, which makes them apprehensive about traveling without documentation on their days off.

Yachimovich says that taking away a worker's passport is in itself against the law, and is asking whether Hadera Paper received a permit to employ the Indians and whether their work conditions are contrary to Israeli labor laws. She also wants to know how the interior minister intends to protect the workers.

Hadera Paper said: "As part of a project through which a new facility for the production of recycled paper for packaging is being built, Hadera Paper has entered a contract, pursuant to a Trade, Commerce and Labor Ministry permit, with a global Indian company that has international expertise in assembling large equipment for the production of recycled paper. The Indian company is currently employing about 75 Indian engineers and professionals in connection with the project. [These] employees plan to complete their work within about two months and return to India."

Hadera Paper says the Indian company's work in Israel is under the regular supervision of the Trade Ministry and the terms of the workers' employment were set by the Indian firm. The Israeli paper company stresses it is not holding the Indian workers' passports and is committed to respecting their legal rights.

Hadera Paper says the new production facility involves an investment of about NIS 700 million, that it will double the use of recycled paper in Israel and create new jobs, providing a livelihood for thousands of workers in the coming years.