Feb.08, 2012–Israel’s main labor union declared a strike on Wednesday that caused delays at Ben Gurion airport, and affected banks, hsopitals, government offices, trains, the stock exchange, and more, after talks with the government failed to produce an agreement on the status of workers employed through labor contractors.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called the strike unnecessary, saying it could cost the economy billions of shekels if it continues. He accused the Histadrut labor federation of being entrenched in its positions.
Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini said that the length of the strike now depends on the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu and Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Shalom Simhon.
Steinitz and Eini met on Tuesday in Jerusalem in a bid to reach an agreement over outsourced workers’ conditions – but both said they did not believe a general strike the Histadrut planned for Wednesday could be avoided.
Netanyahu has been kept updated on negotiations and is reportedly considering intervening to end the crisis.
The High Court of Justice rejected a petition by the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce against the strike on Tuesday. The court said it did not see a reason to intervene at this time in the ruling of the National Labor Court to allow the strike to go ahead, despite the heavy damage it would cause.
Meanwhile, the Histadrut and the Coordinating Bureau of Economic Organizations – which represents private employers – have reached an agreement in principle that meets the Histadrut’s main demands with regard to outsourced workers. According to the agreement, which has not yet been signed, outsourced workers who work full time and who have been working for at least one or two years would be hired directly by their employer instead of working for an employment agency as they do now. Workers who continue to work for an employment agency would have their salaries and benefits brought in line with those of regular employees…Read More>>