Annual report 2018 on the situation of labor and trade union rights, equality & non-discrimination in Palestine

Annual report 2018 on the situation of labor and trade union rights, equality & non-discrimination in Palestine.


Many indicators show that a majority of wage workers in the private sector in Palestine experience difficult and unfair work conditions. These include lack of provision of appropriate jobs, low wage levels, lack of job security, in addition to widespread violations of other labor rights guaranteed by domestic and international legislation.

Combining a quantitative and qualitative approach, this report provides an analysis of official data and statistics, as well as data collected through a questionnaire on labor rights violations during the year 2018 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that covers 5,559 workers, who are members of unions, or submitted complaints and requested consultations from DWRC. It also highlights main reasons for rights’ violations. 

The report indicates that workers faced violations of their fundamental rights at work in various sectors. The most prevalent violations of labor rights concerned annual vacations, holidays and rest hours, followed by violations of rights related to work injuries and occupational safety and health.

In 2018, courts issued several decisions to stop strikes organized in relation to labor rights demands. We also noted an inbalance between the number of labor cases processed by competent courts based on the levels of litigation, and the number of cases requiring implementation of judgments in the enforcement department.

The report concludes that violations of rights are caused by several factors:

  • There are shortcomings in the legal framework, particularly in the absence of a law on union organizing that would provide legal protection for union activities. The legitimacy of unions and their activities are subject to the judiciary, judgment calls or jurisprudence in Palestine, which had a negative effect on the first line of defense in case of workers rights violations, particularly in light of court decisions that stopped strikes issued by the High Court of Justice in 2018.
  • Female and male workers do not know their labor rights, or do not seek to claim them. Employers exploit their need for work, while unions are not effective in defending workers’ rights and undertaking labor rights awareness and education.
  • Labor inspections are unable to put an end to abuses and violations of rights by employers, possibly due to lack of material and logistical capabilities and personnel at the Palestinian Ministry of Labor.
  • There is a need for more efficient and expeditious resolution of labor disputes in Palestinian courts. This concerns in particular cases in the implementation department.
The report was produced by the Democracy and Workers' Rights Center with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, prepared by Adv. Rafe' Salahat.


To review the report, please click here.