Opposition parties reacted angrily Monday to reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering canceling tenure arrangements in the public sector.

Netanyahu reportedly instructed Prime Minister’s Office director-general Harel Locker to examine the matter, after telling the cabinet on Sunday of the need for greater flexibility within the public service.

The prime minister acknowledged that he will need the support of Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini if he is to change existing workplace agreements.

The labor union did not issue a comment on the issue, but Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich and Meretz MK Ilan Gilon both warned Netanyahu against making such a move.

Yacimovich accused Netanyahu of aiming to create a fast track for firing public sector workers. The prime minister is not only doing nothing to prevent waves of layoffs, she argued, but has also decided that the most urgent task is the immediate dismissal of “devoted workers” who earn low wages, such as teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers, police and prison guards.

“With Netanyahu as conductor, the public sector has shrunk due to privatization and cuts,” she said. “As a result Israel ranks as one of the lowest amongst Western countries in civilian expenditure per capita, and the middle class is forced to pay from its own pocket what it deserves by law.”

Gilon said that a time when the economy is slowing down and unemployment is rising, the government should be improving its commitment to increasing employment.

“Workers in all sectors have learned that the words ‘administrative flexibility’ is a mirage that actually means ‘one-way’ flexibility,” Gilon said. “Under this slogan, it is easy to forget that what we are talking about is the livelihoods of families, upon who Netanyahu places the constant threat of being laid off.”

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