Strikes over wages, collective agreements and the contract status of contract
workers cost the economy more than half a million workdays last year, the
Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry reported Sunday.
were held in 2011, with the participation of 290,820 workers, costing the
economy 556,748 workdays, the ministry said. Twenty-four strikes were held the
previous year, but only 35,844 workers participated in those strikes, causing
the loss of 168,864 workdays.
The health system was disrupted by strikes
for most of 2011, which finally ended in December when representatives of
hospital residents signed an agreement with the Treasury amending the collective
agreement the Israel Medical Association signed at the end of August.
largest strike took place on November 7, when the Histadrut protested the
employment status of contract workers by shutting down basic services, including
government offices and public transportation, for four hours. This turned out to
be a prelude to a four-day general strike in February, which ended when
Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz signed an
agreement changing the contract workers’ status.
Three-quarters of the
strikes held in 2011 took place in the public sector. Ninety-nine percent of
strike participants came from the public sector, indicating that the six
private-sector strikes involved a relatively small amount of
Nine of the 25 strikes were held over wage disputes, eight over
the signing of new collective agreements and four over worker
The rest were over organizational changes or were connected to
disputes over worker representation.
Thirteen of the 25 strikes were
resolved within one day, while seven lasted two to 24 days, four lasted 25 to 49
days and one (the medical residents) ran for more than 50 days.
Yitzhaki, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry’s director of workplace
relations, said the data showed that relations between workers and employees had
deteriorated in 2011. Citing the doctors’ strikes, general strike and lengthy
strikes by public-sector social workers, he said the stability of previous years
had been broken.