Notes (Chapter 7)

  1. Important topics like the role of the labour market as a social arena, as a place for acquiring qualifications and skills, and its consequences for worker's health, will be left for future special reports.
  2. Employment is, of course, not only interesting from a perspective of living conditions, but also from that of macro-economics. In particular in Less Developed Countries, short of capital and technology, labour activity is a major determinant of the total economy's production of goods and services. The limited reliable economic statistics available on the occupied territories has led us also to include some aspects of employment which mainly have relevance for macro-economics in the discussion.
  3. The ";determinant week" used in the FAFO survey varied non-systematically over geographical areas in the time period from June to August 1992. The assessment of a person's labour force status is based on what the person was actually doing during this week. Subjective perceptions of own "occupation" are not relevant for the labour force classification.

    Labour activity conducted by prisoners, children or by Israeli settlers is not measured by the survey, even when taking place in the occupied territories. The omission of the widespread phenomenon of child work through imposing a 15 year age limit on the respondents was made because of the very substantial costs involved in measuring such activity with any degree of accuracy. Children's work, which mainly takes place inside family enterprises, is not likely to be reported in regular surveys, and there is a need for supplementary surveys particularly designed to cope with the characteristics of child labour. In contrast to many Western labour force surveys, no upper limit has been put on the age of the respondents because of the relatively small proportion of old people in the population.

  4. For unpaid work on family farms or in businesses the time limit is 15 or more working hours in the determinant week.
  5. A separate discussion of domestic work is conducted in the section on women's labour activity.
  6. See Table A.7.1 in the Labour Table Appendix (A.7) for references to the discussion in this section.
  7. The CBS results for "Non-Jews" in Israel include the Palestinian population in annexed Arab Jerusalem and the Druse population on the Golan Heights. The Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank, on the contrary, is not included. The CBS results for Jews in Israel also include Jewish settlers in the occupied territories.

    In Norway, the lower and upper age limits in labour force surveys are 16 and 74 years respectively. Persons outside this age interval are not included in labour force regardless of amount of labour activity.

    As can be seen from Table A.7.30 in the Labour Table Appendix, FAFO numbers are higher than CBS numbers for the occupied territories. The two sets of results are thus not directly comparable.

  8. The share of the population above working age, however, is very small in the occupied territories, thus having the opposite effect when comparing with Israeli Jews and populations in Western countries.
  9. See the section about women's employment at the end of the chapter for a more comprehensive discussion of this topic.
  10. The close family-based economic network in the occupied territories reduces individual labour activity's value as an indicator of individual access to economic resources. The economic resources disposable for an individual household member are often more dependent on the Head of Household's labour activity than his or her own employment. Employment's direct role as indicator of income is thus mainly treated in the discussion of Head of Household's labour activity in the household economy chapter.
  11. See Table A.7.2 and Table A.7.3, in this chapter's appendix A.7, for references to the discussion in this section.
  12. See Table A.7.3 in the Labour Table Appendix (A.7) for group specific variations in (adult) male labour force participation.
  13. Figure 7.4 shows that the differences between Gaza and the West Bank are much greater for the young and the old than for middle-aged men. The relatively low participation rate for men with 0 years of education may be explained by a high number of old men in this group.
  14. The 94% participation rate for males in central West Bank is the highest for any geographical region.
  15. Note that The low labour force participation rate in Gaza also reflects the high share of low participation rate camp dwellers in the Gaza population.
  16. The failure of agriculture to employ the increasing working age population is largely self-evident. First, Gaza has very limited land and water resources. Second, land and water resources have often been confined to expanding Israeli settlements. Third, the land remaining on Palestinian hands is unevenly distributed and partially owned by absentee landlords. Finally, competition from the modern Israeli agricultural sector has eroded Palestinian agricultural revenues by lowering prices on agricultural produce.
  17. Drawing a sharp line between the possible voluntary or involuntary nature of lack of labour activity is hardly possible. These perceptions are closely tied to cultural norms governing about the relation between a person's sex, age and social status, and which places and types of work that can be considered "acceptable".
  18. Low recorded levels of unemployment is a feature observed in many developing countries. Commonly, the unemployment rate, as measured according to the labour force framework, tends to increase when a country moves towards industrialization. While there is general consensus that overall under-utilization of labour probably is the greatest in very poor countries, labour force surveys in these countries often yield lower unemployment rates than for prosperous countries. (The unemployment rate measured in India is for example lower than in the US).
  19. A person classified as "unemployed" according to the labour force framework must meet three criteria simultaneously. 1) He must be without work, (i.e. must not have worked even for one hour the previous week); 2) he must be seeking work; and 3) he must be available for work, if he is offered a job.
  20. See Table A.7.4 in the Labour Table Appendix (A.7) for references to the discussion in this section. Note, however, the small absolute size of the unemployment group when comparing results for separate socio-economic groups.
  21. See the subsequent discussion about underemployment for further discussion of part-time work.
  22. See Table A.7.5 in the Labour Table Appendix (A.7) for reference to the discussion in this section. Note, however, the generally small absolute number of "discouraged workers" when comparing results for separate socio-economic groups.
  23. The "relaxed" seeking work criterion in ILO terminology.
  24. In the FAFO survey this classification is given to persons answering 6,7,8 or 9 on variable 244.
  25. Note that the low percentage of discouraged workers among women is due to the high number of women outside the labour force. It is further reasonable to believe that the fairly high number of women answering "other reasons" for not seeking work on this variable, also refers to the general lack of employment opportunities for women. As will be further discussed later, female employment is frequently recognized as a sign of low status if not of a professional type.
  26. See: "Surveys of economically active population, employment, unemployment and underemployment, ILO Geneva 1990, p. 121.
  27. Ibid p. 143.
  28. See Table A.7.6 and Table A.7.7 in the Labour Table Appendix for reference to the discussion in this section.
  29. Unlike time worked, income may be transferred among reference periods, and may thus be difficult to integrate into a time-based labour force framework with a short reference period. This problem is particularly manifest in agricultural work where income appears at the time of produce sale, even if reflecting work carried out throughout the whole agricultural season.
  30. Part-time workers were defined as persons working 6 weeks or less during the last two months prior to the survey. Full-time workers as persons working 7 weeks or more during the same time period.
  31. Use of low income as criterion for invisible underemployment is problematic because low income may reflect the institutional set-up rather than low labour productivity. This problem is perhaps most clearly exemplified by unpaid family labour among women and children. In family enterprises it may be particularly difficult to trace the individual income components required to measure invisible underemployment.
  32. A measurement system called "labour utilization" has been used in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. For operational reasons, ICLS (International Conference on Labour Studies) has recommended that statistical measurement of underemployment be limited to visible underemployment only (Ibid p. 145).

    As an indicator for under-utilization of skills, the share of employed persons who have more than 13 years of education, but work in vocational or non-skilled jobs, has been estimated. These persons constitute 3% of the labour force in the occupied territories, 4% in Gaza and 2% in the West Bank. The problem of underemployment deserves more attention and research. Data requirements are such that separate surveys may be required.

  33. Note that as much as 2/3 of Gaza's population are UNRWA refugees. The score for this group is thus also largely decisive in determining the regional score for Gaza.
  34. In the following discussion we will use the concept "employed persons" as labour force members who, in the summer of 1992, had worked at least one month in the preceding year. See the Labour Table Appendix for a further discussion.
  35. See Table A.7.8, Table A.7.9, Table A.7.10, Table A.7.11 and Table A.7.12 in the Labour Table Appendix for references to the discussion in this section.
  36. See also the discussion on labour force participation in the first part of this chapter.
  37. Relatively small wage differences, geographical distances and the need for permissions lead to very little labour migration between Gaza and other regions in the occupied territories. Within the main regions of the occupied territories, geographical distances should normally be a smaller obstacle than in most Less Developed Countries due to small distances and a relatively advanced communication system. Restrictions on entry into (Israeli annexed) Arab Jerusalem, however, in effect separate the northern part of the West Bank from the southern part. Frequent curfews in the central parts of the Gaza Strip similarly separate the greater Gaza City area from the southern part of the Strip.
  38. See Table A.7.13 and Table A.7.14 in the Labour Table Appendix for references to the discussion in this section.
  39. This low number may partially have been caused by a survey measurement system which faces problems encompassing unpaid family work, a form of production predominantly found in agriculture.
  40. This result is partially due to a higher share of the labour force in Gaza employed in Israel where job stability is lower than for employment in the occupied territories. Also for persons employed in the occupied territories, however, job stability is lower for Gaza than for other regions.
  41. Much agricultural land on Palestinian hands in Gaza has, in addition, been used for less labour-intensive orange plantations.
  42. Since the Gulf War, new restrictions on workers from the occupied territories have been implemented but, perhaps more importantly, existing regulations have been enforced.
  43. A Palestinian worker seeking legal employment in Israel, applies to the employment office in his region, which assigns a job with an Israeli employer. He is only authorized to work on the specific tasks and place assigned by the employment office, and change of work place or employer requires updating of the permission. Work permits are not considered contracts of employment, and if an employer does not longer need a worker, all he has to do is to inform the employment service. Workers employed on daily contracts are entirely dependent on their employers, who freely decide whether or not to re-engage them for the next day. Wages for (legal) employment in Israel are indirectly paid through a so-called "payment unit". Employers pay gross salaries to this unit which deducts taxes. Social benefits provided to a worker by Israeli authorities are proportional to the number of work days registered for him with the payment unit. The bureaucracy following the establishment of the payment unit has led to use of direct and indirect methods of surpassing the formal regulations imposed by Israeli authorities. Both employers and employees save taxes by by-passing the payment system. The employer also saves social costs. Because most workers have to wait two weeks for their salaries after the end of the month, there is an incentive to use directly paid, illegal "hand money". There is also a common practice among employers to register a smaller amount of days than actually worked, which has led to a de facto minimum requirement of 15 days to be declared for each worker.

    Officially, the Israeli government wants to put an end to the practice of illegal and unorganized Palestinian labour activity in Israel. There has been an increase in the number of registered workers with the payment unit, from 38.500 in 1990 to 74.000 in December 1991. Today, about 70% of the workers in Israel have formal permits (source: "Communication from the Israeli Government to the ILO report on the occupied territories", 1992, page 100).

    Regulations for Palestinian workers in Israel have changed frequently with fluctuations in political tension. Lately, Palestinian workers have been required to be picked up by their Israeli employers before being allowed into Israel. Not only work seekers, but also those already holding a job, have had to wait for their employers to provide authorized transport to their places of work in Israel. Such restrictions cause great difficulties for Palestinian workers who may have to wait for their employers for hours behind barbed wire, often in vain.

  44. "Green Cards" are issued for periods of 6 months, and are given to persons who have been released after detention on security grounds. In December 1991, 15.000 Palestinians held a green card, 9.000 in the West Bank and 6.000 in Gaza. (Source: Haaretz June 17th, 1991).
  45. See Table A.7.15 and Table A.7.16 in the Labour Table Appendix for references to the discussion in this section. The tables show the percentage of labour force members in each group that works in Israel. If the fraction for a specific group in the occupied territories in total exceeds 26%, for Gaza 38%, or for the West Bank 25%, the group is over-represented in the Israeli labour market relative to other groups of the Palestinian labour force in that area.
  46. There seems to be great stability with regard to main place of work. About 99% of the workers who worked in Israel during the last year, also had their main employment in Israel during the last 2 years.

    It is worth noting that a large number of Palestinian workers also are employed by Israeli institutions and enterprises inside the occupied territories. Palestinian employment in Israeli settlements number approximately 4.000 in the West Bank and 2.000 in Gaza. (Source: ILO report on the occupied territories, 1992, page 27). A further 5.000 workers from the occupied territories are employed in the Israeli "Civil Administration". None of these groups are included among "workers in Israel". The number of permits needed for employment in the settlements, has usually been lower than for employment to Israel proper.

  47. Note that the West Bank still supply most workers in Israel in absolute terms.
  48. There is no correlation between worker's attitudes towards a future Palestinian state and prevalence of work in Israel. This may indicate that seeking work in Israel is determined by other factors than the worker's political attitudes and opinions.
  49. The relatively low share of persons in the youngest age group employed in Israel is probably caused by Israeli restrictions on work permits for the very young. Israeli authorities commonly tend to regard young men as posing the greatest "security risks".
  50. See the discussion of average daily travel time in the next section.
  51. See Table A.7.17, Table A.7.18, Table A.7.19, Table A.7.20, Table A.7.21 and Table A.7.22 in the Labour Table Appendix for references to the discussion in this section. Note that Table A.7.21 and Table A.7.22 partially overlap thematically with the succeeding tables, but use alternative classifications to allow for comparison with results from the CBS.
  52. Note that employed persons in Arab Jerusalem are included both in the two groups residing in the occupied territories and in the group of "Non-Jews" in Israel.
  53. More than 80% of Palestinian workers in Israel commute on a daily basis. Staying overnight in Israel is usually prohibited but a substantial number of workers ignore these regulations. (Sources: International Labour Conference, 79th Session 1992, Report of the Director General, page 33. Annex 2, "Communication received from the Israeli government", page 98).
  54. On the other hand, daily commuting also reduces potential problems following up-rooting of workers from their homes and cultural environment, phenomena known from studies of permanent international migration.
  55. In their labour force survey based on household interviews, the CBS estimated the 1990 number workers from Gaza and the West Bank in Israel to approximately 108 000. (Because only 3/4 of these workers had regularized employment it is, however, reasonable to assume a substantial degree of under-reporting in this field). The 1990 number of employed persons in Israel numbered 1.49 million out of a labour force comprising 1.65 million. (Sources: 1) International Labour Conference, 79th Session 1992, Report of the Director General, Annex 2, "Communication received from the Israeli government", page 97. 2) Statistical Abstract of Israel, 1991, tables 27.21 and 12.1).
  56. See Semyonov & Lewin-Epstein, "Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water" 1987, page 17.
  57. The problem of low job security and stability has been high-lighted by the increasing number of workers seeking employment in Israel, following immigration from CIS and the consequences for Palestinian workers of the curfew during the Gulf War.
  58. See Semyonov & Lewin-Epstein, "Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water" 1987, page 89.
  59. See Table A.7.23 in appendix A.7 for references to the discussion in this section.
  60. "The Revaluation of Women's Work", Croom Helm, 1988, p. 15.
  61. The present process of economic modernization in the occupied territories is likely to be followed by a shift in consumer preferences from services towards material goods. As an activity not directly generating income, domestic work may thus have its status further eroded in the future, compared to income generating activities.
  62. See also appendix A.7.
  63. Out of the 8% of all women who had a job outside the home the year prior to the survey, as many as 83% were members of the labour force at the time of interviewing. (The remaining 17% probably did not work during the one-week reference period that determined their labour force status). By contrast, only 48% of the women doing non-formalized jobs the previous year, were members of the labour force at the time of the survey. Even if some of these women probably did not work at all in the reference week, most of them probably did not consider their labour activity as "work". Particularly such agricultural work as raising animals, was not accounted for. The overall response rate for in-house unpaid production was low compared to expectations prior to the survey. The main problem in documenting female labour activities thus seems to be how to measure work actually conducted, rather than too narrow definitions.
  64. See Table A.7.3, Table A.7.24 and Table A.7.25 in the Labour Table Appendix for references to the discussion in this section.
  65. See ";A Study of Women and Work in Shatti Refugee Camp of the Gaza Strip", Arab Thought Forum Jerusalem (Lang/Mohanna) 1992, page 73.

    To avoid criticism from male relatives and the neighbouring community, many women accept low pay work at home (e.g. embroidery or sewing). Income generating work at home is, of course, also easier to combine with child care and other domestic work. Some women even travel to another area to avoid criticism from the local community.

  66. Ibid page 55.
  67. Even though most Christian women live in the central West Bank region, the overall female labour force participation rate is not higher here than in the northern and the southern parts of the West Bank.
  68. The small difference between working and non-working women in Gaza seems to be rooted in misperceptions of the content of the expression "free to move at will". Labour force participation in Gaza is actually much higher among women who, when presented with specific activities, answer "can go alone", than for women generally claiming they are free to move at will.
  69. See Table A.7.26, Table A.7.27, Table A.7.28 and Table A.7.29 in appendix A.7 for references to the discussion in this section.
  70. Information about women's weekly time use should be used with caution because of problems with reporting. Some women counted parallel activities twice, yielding more hours of weekly activity than the possible total of 168 hours. Other women, in particular older women, reported far less than 70 weekly hours, including relaxing. There is, however, a possibility that, on average, these reporting errors may offset each other.
  71. In the short run, reduced Jewish immigration to Israel will also negatively affect Palestinian employment because of the high employment share in construction among workers from the occupied territories.

al@mashriq                       960715