Histadrut likely to announce general strike this week

February 8, 2011 17:44

Protest comes in light of a sharp price increase on basic goods such as fuel, bread and water.

1 minute read.

Worker filling a gasoline pump.

311_gasoline pumps. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The central committee of the Histadrut Labor Federation is likely to put its full weight behind a labor dispute on Thursday, allowing it to move ahead with plans to launch a full-on general strike within the next two weeks, a statement released by the organization detailed on Tuesday.

Its protest, which is echoed by the Manufacturers Association of Israel and the Union of Local Authorities (ULA), as well as the National Union of Israeli Students, come in light of a sharp price increase on basic goods such as fuel, bread and water. The labor action, which will include the private and public sectors, could paralyze the country and leave the government with no choice but to reduce prices.

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"The Histadrut will be operating on two levels - the private and the public sector. We will declare a labor dispute and there will also be protests in the public sphere," said Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini, who plans to hold emergency meetings on Wednesday with both Shraga Brosh, head of the Manufacturers Association of Israel and ULA Chairman Shlomo Buhbut to decide on a further course of action.

"I urge the Prime Minister to go back and find an easier way to solve this," added Eini, who described the united front between the three organizations as a historic move and who lauded the decision of the National Union of Israeli Students to join the struggle.

In a statement Tuesday, a National Union of Israeli Students official said the body would participate in Wednesday's discussions on appropriate action against price increases because of the hard feelings expressed by the public towards rising costs and especially due to the hardships faced particularly by the country's young people.

On Monday, the Bank of Israel announced that it expected a sharp increase in prices of property in Israel to be as high as 14 percent compared to two years ago. In addition, the cost of fuel has risen by roughly 13% in recent months, bread by 10% and water by up to 134%.

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