At the directive of the Engineers Union at the Israel Broadcasting Authority, all radio stations that are part of the Israel Radio network went on strike Monday indefinitely.
The strike was called in the aftermath of a protest demonstration, where hundreds of IBA employees blocked access to the Knesset and the Finance Ministry in retaliation to a decision taken by the government and the Knesset to dismantle the IBA, fire close to 2,000 employees and open a pared down new public broadcasting entity in its stead.
The protesters called on the government to honor its commitments and to institute the reforms that had been agreed upon and signed by their own representatives.
After years of protracted negotiations, an agreement was finally reached by all sides. The Finance Ministry, in April 2012, reneged on the agreement, which had included large-scale, well-compensated dismissals and the sale of the bulk of IBA property. This was designed to make the IBA profitable, and thereby take significant steps towards reform.
The Finance Ministry ignored its commitments and refused to honor the agreements.
Many of the participants in the demonstration voiced bitter words against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Communications Minister Gilad Erdan and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, who they believe are all in collusion to destroy the IBA.
The protesters were joined by members of the Journalists Association - Jerusalem (JAJ) and members of the Histadrut labor federation.
For the past week there have been disruptions to radio programs. Disruptions to television programs, with a possible blackout, are also anticipated.
It depends on the extent to which various unions within the IBA agree amongst themselves.
The demonstration coincided with a meeting between Erdan with JAJ chairman Hika Ginosar, Histadrut chairman Avi Nissankoren and representatives of the Finance Ministry.
The meeting, which was ostensibly convened to determine the conditions under which employees would be dismissed, made no headway other than for the participants to agree to meet again.
Unlike previous IBA staff demonstrations at which Knesset members came out to talk to the demonstrators and even to identify with them, on this occasions, the MKs stayed away. The only high-ranking official who came by to express solidarity with them was Nissankoren en route to his meeting with Erdan and company.
From 4 p.m. on Monday, announcements in several languages were made on radio stations to explain why broadcasts have been suspended.
For the past week many broadcasts were either shortened or canceled because the Engineers Union had forbidden