Histadrut chair Ofer Eini at Labor Court_311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Israel’s largest business-sector representative body accused the Histadrut labor
federation on Monday of not making enough of an effort to negotiate before it
requested to hold a strike over the employment status of contract
“There is no need for an unnecessary strike and for damage to be
done to the economy just because one has the ability to do
so. Improvement of [contract workers’] conditions, combined with stronger
enforcement, are the right way,” the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce
wrote in a letter to the National Labor Court.
The court is scheduled to
hear the Histadrut’s request on January 8. The Histadrut told the court in its
submission on Sunday that the nearly two-months-long negotiations with the
Finance Ministry, Union of Local Authority and Federation of Israeli Economic
Organizations have reached a dead end.
The Histadrut is calling for the
number of contract workers to be reduced by moving some of them into direct
employment. The Finance Ministry has said it is prepared to improve the
conditions of contract workers, but opposes discontinuing the use of cleaning
and security contract companies altogether.
In its submission to the
court, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC) attached a
statement of understanding relating to contract workers that it signed on Sunday
with the General Federation of Workers in Israel (GFWI) – the country’s
second-largest workers organization.
The FICC and GFWI agreed that in the
event that an employer discovers a contract company violating workers’ rights
while carrying out services, the employer should be permitted to end the
agreement with the contract company without compensation and with 30-days