Avenue, a restaurant located in the Al-Masyoun area of Ramallah, is where Alaa Abu Daqqa used to be employed, that is until the owners suddenly decided to stop paying him his salary. Alaa arrived from Egypt more than 2 years ago after one of the restaurant owners made special arrangements for him to come to Ramallah specifically for the purpose of managing Avenue restaurant. But only a month into the job, Alaa started to realize that the promise of a 3,000 NIS monthly salary and paid housing might have been too good to be true. While the owners did end up paying for housing, they neglected to pay Alaa his full salary for the first five months of employment and were able to get away with only paying him a few hundred shekels here and there.
After five months, Alaa finally began receiving his full salary but, unfortunately, it was not for long. After the owners returned to giving him arbitrary and inconsistent payments, Alaa finally made the decision to resign in May 2009. Resignation was a more than a difficult decision, it was also a big risk for Alaa because at the time, he did not have another job lined up and, more importantly, the owners had threatened to send him back to Gaza – where he is originally from. Without special permission, Gaza residents are not able to visit, much less live, in the West Bank so the threat of having to go back to Gaza meant that Alaa might not be able to come back to Ramallah. Fortunately for him, the threat never amounted to action and he was able to resign without being deported. He was not, however, able to collect the remaining amount of money owed to him by the restaurant. The outstanding balance owed to him comes to 10,000 NIS.
When Alaa demanded his remaining salary, the owners tried to negotiate by offering to give him 2,000 NIS and asking him to sign an agreement stating he would not seek any further compensation in the future. Not willing to take an 8,000 NIS loss, Alaa refused. Soon after, Alaa came to the DWRC and worked with Mohammad Amarneh, one of the lawyers here, to officially open a case in his name to begin the process of documenting the injustice.
It is not likely that the case will be resolved anytime soon, especially as the restaurant continues to deal with its own issues of debt; however, when asked why he decided to pursue his case despite the gloomy outlook, Alaa replied by saying that regardless of the outcome it was important to him to make sure that what happened is documented and that action in some form, is taken.
Posted By Rangineh Azimzadeh
Posted Aug 10th, 2009