Ofer Eini 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Histadrut)
Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini and Finance Ministry budget
director Gal Hershkovitz concluded a meeting without making any progress late on Saturday night in an effort to avert the
general strike set by Eini for Monday morning.
Eini and Finance Minister
Yuval Steinitz met on Friday afternoon, but failed to agree over the former’s
demands on the employment status of contract workers, who receive few of the
benefits that those employed directly do. Eini has compared contract workers to
Yacimovich: Contract workers' strike is justified
'Social justice' movement postpones nationwide strike
The Histadrut is demanding the movement of some contract workers
to civil service collective agreements.
The strike is scheduled to begin
at 6 a.m. on Monday, and to cover airports, seaports, local authorities,
government offices and other areas of the public sector. Full details of the
strike will be published on Sunday, the Histadrut said.
was making a big effort to halt “a completely unnecessary strike,” Steinitz told
Channel 2’s Meet the Press on Saturday evening. He said he and Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu were ready to raise the minimum wage for contract workers and
to strengthen protection of their rights, but that they would not do anything
that could harm the economy.
“We are ready to take the models of
advanced-welfare states such as Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands. In Sweden,
cleaning and guard work is done by contract workers, but in Sweden they also
protect the workers’ rights at all costs,” Steinitz said.
however, that cleaning and security companies serviced the public sector in
every OECD-member country, without exception.
Eini declared the general
strike on Thursday, saying: “A strike is the last option, but we had no choice
after the Treasury announced yesterday that it had no intention of moving
contract workers into direct reducing this shameful phenomenon that has taken root in Israeli
The Histadrut is calling for around 100,000 cleaning and
maintenance staff, employed as contract workers in the public sector, to be
moved to direct employment.
On Friday the Manufacturers Association
applied to the National Labor Court for an injunction to halt the
The association said a general strike would cost the economy
around NIS 330 million a day, and emphasized that the damage could grow
exponentially given the effects of global economic troubles on
“I’m sorry that it has gotten to a situation in which we need to
request an injunction from the labor court to prevent this strike. I’m certain
there is no need for a strike, and that we can reach a solution if all sides
insist on negotiations and recognize that the status of contract and service
workers must improve,” Manufacturers Association chairman Shraga Brosh
Brosh called on Netanyahu to use the time remaining until Monday to
force Treasury officials to realize that this is not the time to allow a
“I am convinced that the prime minister wants to find a real
solution to these problems, but it’s a shame that the Treasury officials who are
so steadfast in their own opinions are blocking such a solution.
Treasury officials refuse to understand that the cost we all pay after a strike
or after Knesset intervention will be tenfold the cost of any compromise they
must reach to avert the strike.”JPost.com staff contributed to this report