The Histadrut labor federation on Tuesday declared a labor dispute on behalf of striking post office workers, which opens to doors to a government-wide strike two weeks down the road.

“I will not allow Israel’s postal workers to be invisible,” Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkoren said at the Calcalist National Conference at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv.

Postal Company workers went on strike in the country’s periphery on Monday, and in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.

The dispute centers over major overhaul plans that would include a significant downsizing of staff, increasing afternoon delivery, and keeping offices opening until 8 at night several days a week.

The state-owned company, which has been in a dire financial situation for year, had planned on firing 2,000 of its 9,000 employees, and privatizing part of its ownership.

In negotiations, the company and the Histadrut had agreed to reduce the number of laid-off staff to 1,000. The workers accused the company of intending to let 1,500 permanent workers to go so they could hire contract- workers instead and pay them less.

Earlier in the day, post office workers gathered outside the hotel to protest against Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who opened the conference.

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