Saturday, February 13, 2016

Ethnic-pricing flyer in Israel

From Eyal: "About the ethnic-pricing flyer: That thing is worth the time of a closer

First, economically, it is a bit of a ridiculous gimmick, because the minimum wage in Israel per hour is 25 NIS, cleaning work has a crummy industry-wide collective agreement which sets the industrial minimum wage to... exactly that amount. Add 20-30% for retirement benefits, sick pay, severance pay etc. - the ad is starting off at almost twice that.  So, it's an ad for the gullible racist.

But let's be a little more serious. I'll translate the text, from here:

or here:

"Need a household [female] worker? Tired of hiring illegal foreign [female] workers and receiving fines? Unwilling to hire an Arab [female] worker for security reasons? Tired of being considered the formal employer and being subjected to lawsuits by the occasional [female] employee?

There is a solution!
Provision of household and cleaning services using legal [female] workers only!
Foreign worker of African descent: 49 NIS/hour + VAT Foreign worker of East European descent: 52 NIS/hour + VAT Worker with Israeli ID of East European descent: 69 NIS/hour + VAT

(minimum 5 hours)
special price for a full 12-hour workday!!!

Irina [phone number here]"

This also brings into focus the problem of indirect employment via shady contractors, which not only pocket a lot of money but also shield employers from actually having to deal with, well, employing people. In 2011 the Union of (Israeli) Chambers of Commerce estimated that 250,000 
workers are employed via contractors in the security and cleaning services, and that's out of a labor of force of about 2.5 Million (maybe a little less) in Israel (= 1948-Palestine, i.e. not counting the West 
Bank and Gaza). A few years ago I was somewhat involved with efforts to help groups of themunionize, and let me tell you - it's terribly hard. The largest trade union federation, the Histadrut, has allowed their numbers to skyrocket in many places - not just in those industries 
mentioned above - and generally refrains from including them in collective bargaining processes. Thus they have tended to replace former-generation employees with better conditions.

You'll also note that the citizen workers mentioned in the ad are of  East European descent; that would be mostly immigrants from the former USSR, mostly from the 1990s (but not just) and possibly Moldovans, Ukranians etc. who've managed to secure citizenship more recently 
starting from the position of a migrant worker on a 5-years-max visa. The contact person's name is a Slav/Eastern European name. The Knesset Research Center, probably based on Central Bureau of Statistics data, estimated that the fraction of through-contractor workers who are 
immigrants from the former USSR, and have arrived after 1990, is 50%, four times higher than their fraction in the total population (12.2%; although this is not exactly their fraction of the workforce, which is higher AFAIK). So, this flyer is also indicative of the fact that the 
"Russians" are in the middle rungs of the racial hierarchy, above "Arabs" but below the "Ashkenzi", second-third-and-fourth generation immigrants, even though the majority of the latter are from Eastern Europe and pre-USSR Russia as well.


PS - The woman on the flyer looks more Western-European than 
Eastern-European. That's the ideal after all."