Eini Minimum Wage 311.
(photo credit: Ofer Amram)
Talks between the Histadrut labor federation and the Finance Ministry to resolve
differences over the government’s measures regarding recent price rises
continued late into the night on Thursday.
As of press time, discussions
– which commenced on Thursday evening between Histadrut labor federation
chairman Ofer Eini and Uri Nissan, head of the budget department in the Treasury
and Finance Ministry director-general Haim Shani – had not yet yielded an
“The discussions are still ongoing. We are hoping that the
main differences over the minimum wage and water prices can be resolved
overnight,” said the Histadrut labor federation.
In the hopes of averting
a general workers’ strike, Eini met with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on
Thursday morning to discuss ways to bridge differences over the easing measures
the government presented last week.
The meeting yielded few
Last Thursday, the Histadrut labor federation declared a labor
dispute in protest to recent increases in the price of basic goods such as water
and bread. The dispute allows the union to launch a strike as early as the end
of next week.
At the end of last week, the government announced that it
will raise the minimum wage and roll back recent increases for water rates,
public transportation and gasoline prices to ease the burden of soaring
The Histadrut labor federation has been arguing that
the measures introduced by the government do not go far enough to ease the
impact of rising prices and will affect a very small segment of the
The union is also fiercely opposed to the government’s
announcement that it will finance the easing measures by budget cuts of about 2
percent to government ministries across the board. On Sunday, the cabinet is
expected to vote on the sweeping cuts in ministry budgets.
The Union of
Local Authorities announced Thursday its intention to join the growing number of
labor unions and associations threatening to strike unless the government takes
steps to immediately reduce water costs.
“The board of the Union of Local
Authorities held an emergency meeting today and decided that unless the
government takes immediate measures to reduce the tariff on water, we will
continue our struggle in partnership with the Histadrut labor federation and the
Manufacturers Association of Israel,” wrote the ULA in a statement released on
The union, which is responsible for services such as waste
disposal and school transportation, added that unless a solution is found within
the next two weeks, it will start to strike.
As well as threats of labor
action from the Histadrut, the ULA and the Manufacturers Association, the
dispute with the Social Workers Union also remained unsolved Thursday. That
organization has threatened to take action within the next week if their demands
for a pay increase are not met.