civil strike 1 298.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Israel should be prepared for a general strike next week, Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini said Thursday following a meeting with Treasury Wage Director Eli Cohen in which the latter offered to raise government wages by 0.2 percent by 2009, instead of the 10%-13% which the Histadrut was demanding.
"The proposal by the Finance Ministry of a salary increase of 0.2% by 2009 is insulting," Eini said after the meeting. He then instructed professional unions and workers unions in the public sector to prepare for a general strike as early as next week.
Cohen defended the suggested pay raise, saying that the salaries of workers in the public sector go up by a rate of 1.5% every year, even without an official wage agreement. This, he claimed, occurred automatically with an increase in a worker's seniority.
"We have no room for a significant increase in salaries at a time when the government is cutting crucial sums from the defense and education budgets," Cohen said.
On Monday, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On and the Histadrut chairman are scheduled to meet in Jerusalem in an attempt to break the deadlock.