Filipino Welders Win Settlement From Employer In Israel


(2)welders pr pic

             The four Filipino welders Ruben Acuna, Alvin Arellado, Franciso Villena, and Manuel Panaligan called on Consul General Pamela Durian-Bailon (third from right) and Labor Attaché Rodolfo Gabasan (third from left) on 29 December 2016 to thank the Philippine Embassy for its assistance


3 January 2017 -- Four Filipino welders won a financial settlement of about NIS 20,000 (USD 5,250) each from an Israeli construction company, after a successful negotiation mediated by the Philippine Embassy and Kav LaOVed, an Israeli non-profit organization that provides assistance to migrant laborers.


The welders, who held Foreign Expert Visas (Welding Specialists), were hired directly by the Israeli company and started working in January 2016. Six months into their jobs, the welders informed the Philippine Embassy's labor office (POLO) about contract violations by the company, which included substantial salary deductions, assignment to non-welding jobs, and extension of work hours without overtime pay.


Labor Attaché Rodolfo Gabasan and Consul Bryan Jess Baguio met with officials of the company to resolve the issues raised by the welders. However, the company was uncooperative.


Thus, POLO recommended the filing of a Disciplinary Action against Employer (DAE) case before the POEA against the company. It is now the subject of litigation. POLO likewise sought the assistance of Kav LaOved, which provided a lawyer to handle the case and negotiate the settlement of the welders' unclaimed salaries and benefits. Kav LaOved, which in Hebrew means "Worker's Hotline", is a non-profit organization which aims to protect the rights of the most disadvantaged workers in Israel. It addresses violations through various means such as individual assistance, advocacy, and outreach.


While the case was ongoing, OWWA and the Federation of Filipino Communities in Israel (FFCI) gave assistance and support to the welders.


The welders left Israel on 30 December 2016, arriving in the Philippines just in time for the New Year's celebrations with their respective families. Three are from Batangas and one is from Lucena. END