PCHR Issues a Report on “The Conditions of the Gaza Workers Under Covid-19 Pandemic”
Date: 17 January 2021
On Sunday, 17 January 2021, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a new report titled “The Conditions of the Gaza Workers Under Covid-19 Pandemic.” The report addressed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on workers in the Gaza Strip, whose conditions deteriorated as never before, due to the preventive measures and restrictions imposed in the Gaza Strip to limit the spread of the virus. In addition to the night curfew and full-day curfew imposed on Fridays and Saturdays every week.
According to the report, the imposed restrictions caused paralyzed the Gaza Strip and affected 160,000 daily workers who earned a living through daily work in organizations and facilities that shutdown or reduced operations; such as factories, stores, schools, universities, kindergartens, civil institutions, wedding halls, restaurants, coffee shops, barbershops, sport clubs, gyms, weekly local markets and transportations. This deepened the suffering of the Gaza workers who are suffering since 2007, from serious deterioration caused by 14 years of Israeli closure and the political division as well.
This report monitors the workers’ damages, as some workers have lost their jobs, or their hours/workdays were reduced, others had pay cuts inflicted on their already low wages; below the minimum wage in Palestine. However, those workers lost most of their rights provided by the Palestinian Labor Law and international covenants, such as regular wages, social insurance, end of service bonus, and the kinds of paid leaves. The report highlights the deterioration of the workers’ living conditions by using the testimonies of some workers who have lost their source of income and became unable to meet the minimum basic needs for their families, and lost the minimum quality of life in dignity.
The report also evaluated the governmental interventions to reduce the negative impact on the Gaza workers under the Covid-19 pandemic, and confirmed that these interventions are very limited and do not cover all affected workers; moreover, they do not cover the losses workers sustained due to Covid-19. Also, the aids provided to workers are lump sum payments and for one-time, which do not cover their deficit, nor provide them with the means for a dignified life as they remain out of work for a long time. Furthermore, the aids distribution mechanisms were not clear and fair, as thousands of workers were prevented from taking any financial aid despite being in dire need, as they lost their source of income and became unemployed.
The report concluded with several recommendations to reduce violations against workers in the Gaza Strip under the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, it called upon the government to intervene urgently to protect the workers’ rights and relief them, in order to enhance them to live in dignity.