Supermarket chains would be required to charge the same price for products in all of their branches, according to a bill by MK Amir Peretz (Labor).

Though Peretz is an opposition MK, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved government backing for his bill. It will be brought for a preliminary plenum reading on Wednesday, which it is expected to pass.

The Labor MK explained that he introduced the legislation to end the practice whereby people in different parts of the country have to pay widely different prices for the same product at different branches of the same store.

“Unfortunately, the people who pay the high cost of living is the general public, especially those in the periphery, where prices are higher and the population is mostly weaker,” Peretz said. He cited a study showing that food prices are lower in the center of the country.

According to Peretz, the current pricing situation is “intolerable; the weaker you are and the lower your average income is, the higher the cost of living becomes.”

The bill would apply to chains with a number of stores that the Industry, Trade and Labor Minister determines, and would allow exceptions for short-term sale prices.

Ran Melamed, CEO of YEDID – The Association for Community Empowerment, said the bill was very important, and would put an end to a major form of discrimination.

“Supermarket chains in the periphery must make sure that they have competitive prices,” he said. “If a chain is expensive, the public should be smart enough not to buy from it.”

Melamed spoke to The Jerusalem Post en route to Kiryat Gat, where Yedid led a project of comparing prices of 100 products in all the supermarkets in the southern town.

The Yedid CEO said he hoped the project would educate consumers and lead shop owners to lower their prices.

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