Histadrut threatens strike over long-term care

Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn: The Finance Ministry proposed that over sixties pay NIS 40,000 for coverage.

November 15, 2016 17:15
1 minute read.

Histadrut protest [File]. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Histadrut House of Representatives, the Histadrut's (General Federation of Labor in Israel) supreme institution, today approved a general labor dispute following a deadlock in negotiations with the Ministry of Finance on collective long-term care insurance.

Declaring a labor dispute enables the Histadrut to begin a general strike in a number of entities, almost all of them public agencies, following a 14-day cooling off period. Just before the strike date, if one is declared, the coordination and operations committee of the Histadrut's union section will convene and publish a list of the agencies to which the strike will apply. The list is expected to include Ben-Gurion Airport, Israel Railways, the ports, government ministries, etc.

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While the Histadrut House of Representatives was meeting, Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn stunned his listeners by asserting that one of the Ministry of Finance negotiators had proposed that people aged 60-65 who lacked insurance coverage for long-term care could purchase policies for a one-time NIS 40,000 payment. "The Ministry of Finance's attitude is that private citizens bear sole responsibility for their long-term care," he said.

Ministry of Finance sources did not deny to "Globes" that such an option had been raised, but they said it was a slightly distorted interpretation of one element in a broader plan proposed by a team headed by Deputy Minister of Finance Yitzhak Cohen.

The Histadrut is taking this measure in response to the determination of the Ministry of Finance professional echelon, particularly Supervisor of Capital Markets, Insurance, and Savings Dorit Salinger, to implement reform, which the Histadrut has been delaying for an entire year. Under this reform, only private collective long-term care insurance policies will be marketed, not collective policies, which offer cheaper terms.

Nissenkorn has been aiming high in recent days. He made it clear that the Histadrut was demanding not only a solution for holders of collective long-term care insurance policies, but the formulation of a solution involving state long-term care insurance.

Nissenkorn has already discussed the matter with Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman, who has consistently supported this measure. Health system and political sources believe, however, that Nissenkorn's plan is primarily a tactical position designed to achieve a better position ahead of a solution for the issue of collective insurance.

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