Israel arrests 45 Malawians

 Israel arrests 45 Malawians

 Forty-five Malawian workers face deportation from Israel for fleeing their work stations in farms to work in the city.

Yesterday ,the Malawians were arrested at a confectionery factory in Tel Aviv.

The incident comes a fortnight after Malawi and Israel signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to guide the labour export to Israeli farms.

Malawi Society in Israel president Austin Chipeta, told The Nation yesterday, the 45 were arrested by immigration officers in the early hours after receiving a tip off that the compound the group was residing in was keeping deserters.

He said the group, which fled Arava and Lion farms, is being kept at a maximum security prison in South Tel Aviv, near Shapira neighbourhood pending deportation.

Chipeta further said contracts for workers in farms stipulate that they cannot work elsewhere. He said the same is indicated in their visas.

Parliamentarian Joyce Chitsulo with a
Malawian worker in Israel

He attributed their desertion to seeking greener pastures elsewhere. He said: “The main reason that they have been abandoning their work is that most farmers are not respecting contractual obligations. For example, if they agreed 30 shekels [K14 000] per hour, some farmers would have been paying 25 or 20 shekels.

“Salaries in the farms are much lower. Other jobs, for example, in the manufacturing industry where they run to are paying around 40 shekels [K19 000] per hour. As a leader I took it upon myself to talk to them [workers]

 to return to the farms but they would not listen.”

Chipeta said the farmers, who facilitated the labour deal felt betrayed because they paid for air tickets and $500 [K867 000]  for five months visa for each of the workers.

“The farmers say they do not need them [workers] anymore. But I am still talking to some of them to accept those that are still out there, but willing to return to the farms,” he said.

Both Minister of Information and Digitisation Moses Kunkuyu, labour commissioner Hlalerwayo Nyangulu and Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Nkhalamba did not pick The Nation calls on several attempts nor responded to our questionnaires by press time.

Kunkuyu alongside Minister of Foreign Affairs Nancy Tembo

 and Minister of Labour Agnes NyaLonje, who signed the labour export deal, made the Malawi delegation to the MoU signing ceremony.

Speaking in an interview after the signing, Tembo, who led the delegation to Israel, said her ministry would be responsible for future recruitment of workers in Israel.

She said: “The Ministry of Labour will have to develop a plan and make sure that they understand the agreements, they are properly briefed, they know what is expected of them when they get to Israel.

“So, this is what the Ministry of Labour is working on at the moment.”

Kenya-based Israel Ambassador to Malawi Michael Lotem said the MoU was an interim arrangement to allow a limited number of workers to Israel until a bilateral labour agreement is signed.

He said Malawi will only have less than 3 000 slots for farm workers.

“Under an MoU, the limit is 2 000 but we are offering Malawi up to 2500. This is the only African country we have accorded this opportunity because of our situation,” he said.

Government began promoting work in Israel in November last year, to generate foreign exchange revenue.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Simplex Chithyola Banda said in February that $735 000 (about K1.2 billion) had already been transferred to Malawi through the labour export arrangement with Israel.

The post  Israel arrests 45 Malawians first appeared on Nation Online.

The post  Israel arrests 45 Malawians appeared first on Nation Online.