Thursday, October 16, 2008

Israeli Labor Camp Revolts


Some 12 Israeli men are being held captive by hundreds of Chinese workers in Caribbean Turk Caicos islands. The Israeli women though. managed to escape via a boat as the Chinese workers advanced on the Israeli compound to demand their due pay and recoup expenses and fees they incurred. Apparently, the Chinese workers have not been paid their wages for some time.

The Israelis are employees of an international construction firm based in Israel, Ashtrom Engineering and Construction, a subdivision of Ashtrom Group ltd., which employed the 300 laborers for a large tourism project. The venture, however, was put on hold due to the global financial crisis.

The 12 Israelis have been held captive for 3 days on West Caicos, an isolated island accessible only via a 40-minute boat ride from the central island in the archipelago. The island does not have a police force and the Israelis did not provide security personnel, making it easy for the Chinese workers, who have taken control of the single marina, to hold the Israelis against their will.

The Chinese laborers are refusing to release the captives until they receive the money promised to them by the manpower company that was contracted to hire them for the project. A representative from Ashtrom told Ynet that the company had decided in principle to pay the laborers the full amount demanded. The company will also give the hostage-takers the money meant to have been paid by the Chinese manpower firm.
"The company has decided to pay the Chinese laborers everything, even the money we don't owe them but that the Chinese manpower firm charged them in return for sending them here – just to bring this situation to an end," said an Ashtrom representative, adding that the process was complex and was taking some time.
"The Chinese came to us with demands – but we're not the ones who took their money, it was the Chinese manpower company, and they're not willing to give it back. We're not the ones who owe the laborers – the Chinese contractors are. They have con men in China who take money from innocent laborers as commission for getting them into this project, and then they just disappear. We've paid all the wages we owe the workers, without exception. It's the Chinese company that's evading its responsibilities."

But if the Chinese company is a sub contractor to the Israeli firm they may be vicariously liable underrespondeat superior theory, i.e., they could be legally responsible even if only partially, because they are the parent agent of the contract inasmuch that they are a beneficiary of its formation and fulfillment.

These types of abuses of workers in similar international circumstances is a scourge to poor people trying to make a living around the world. Such cases of abusing worker have been taking place for centuries, e.g., the building of the panama canal and most recently the construction of the green zone and the super Embassy in Iraq. Thse Chinese workers are brave and I applaud them for agitating for their rights. They were fortunate though, that the IDF was not available to help these Israelis usurp their rights -- unlike the Palestinians within and without Israel.

Company Info

Ashtrom Group Ltd. is the leading building corporation in Israel. The group operates in an extensive array of building developments and auxiliary activities in Israel and abroad. Through its subsidiary companies, the group is active in various construction sectors including building national infrastructure projects such as bridges, junctions, highways, seaports, railways and more. In addition, the group is involved in constructing housing and rental projects and diverse plants in the construction industry, supplying human resource services and providing a broad range of operations throughout the world.

The group offers a comprehensive system of services, which is firmly based on uncompromising quality, efficiency and professionalism. These services are provided through paying strict attention to the highest international standards and providing the proper solutions to the clients, according to the special requirements of their various projects.

Ashtrom Group Ltd. continues to expand its operations locally and internationally, while offering the most advanced creative and high quality solutions in order to assure continuous customer satisfaction.

The leading Executives of Ashtrom Ltd. are Lipa Meshorer, Joint Managing Director; Rami Nussbaumm, Joint Managing Director; and Gil Gueron, Joint Managing Director. The Corporation has an annual earning of nearly 1 billion dollars.

Their customers might be satisfied, but the workers they abuse and incite to riot certainly are not.

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