Just hours after the Histadrut labor federation instructed municipal inspectors in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa not to issue parking tickets from 1 p.m. until the end of the day Wednesday, the union declared a labor dispute with local government authorities.

Both actions were motivated by what the Histadrut called a breakdown in negotiations over additional management payments for workers.

According to the Histadrut, an agreement signed in May 2012 promised retroactive payment to eligible municipal workers hired from March, 1999 onward by October 2012, while the criteria for payment would be finalized in separate negotiations.

Those negotiations had stalled, they said, leading them to first call parking inspectors away from work to attend “informational meetings,” and then to declare a formal dispute, which opens the door to further action in two weeks.

“It is inconceivable that the Union of Local Authorities in Israel signs an agreement on the one hand, and rejects its application,” said Arnon Ben- David, chairman of the Histadrut’s branch of Clerks, Administrative Public Service Employees, who called Wednesday’s informational meetings.

The labor dispute is the Histadut’s second against local authorities in less than a week.

Union of Local Authorities Chairman Shlomo Buhbut said the Histadrut’s actions were “purposeless” and misdirected.

“Preventing budget cuts for the local authorities is the real war,” he said. “Trying to discuss salary increases at a time of budget crisis is a total disconnected from reality.”

That sentiment did not stop Buhbut from proposing his own anti-austerity battles.

Instead of harming workers with labor dispute, he said, the Histadrut should join forces with the Union of Local Authorities against the Finance Ministry to prevent budget cuts.

“I propose to Ofer Eini, chairman of the Histadrut, to build a common front,” he said, adding that the Finance Ministry should not be allowed to divide and conquer the two unions. “This is the time to protect workers, not to hurt them.”

The local authorities, he said, had lived up to all their promises, and called on Ben-David to return to negotiations.

The local authorities also vowed not to pay the parking inspectors for the half-day they abandoned in their posts.

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