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Giving them the slip

Israeli employers' strategic falsification of pay slips to disguise the violation of Thai farmworkers' right to the minimum wage

Matan Kaminer

In a 2013 Facebook post, Israel’s then Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett (2013; my translation) wrote: 'If an Israeli employer knows that he has to pay every worker the minimum wage, give him one day off a week, pay overtime and produce pay slips – he just won’t employ infiltrators and foreign workers. He will choose an Israeli worker. This is how we dry the main fuel which sets fire to the problem of infiltrators in south Tel Aviv and across the country, and at the same time do justice to workers who are exploited in substandard conditions.' Bennett posits the equal protections of labour law as primarily informed not by a universalist concern for the welfare of all workers but by a desire to exclude both documented ‘foreign workers’ and undocumented ‘infiltrators’ from the labour market. A document – the pay slip – serves in Bennett’s plan as an icon of legality and a tool in the hands of this policy of exclusion through egalitarianism.