General strike averted as deal seemingly reached

July 20, 2015 13:05

A general strike planned for Wednesday appears to be off, as Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissankorn are expected to announce a deal on government contract workers in Jerusalem Monday afternoon.

The Histadrut Labor Federation has been ramping up pressure on the finance ministry to reduce the use of contract workers in the government, who generally have less job security and lower pay than regular, salaried workers. A general strike would have been a blow to Israel's economy, shutting down the airport, public transport, sea ports, and public services. In recent years, the Histadrut has used the threat of a general strike to bolster its negotiation position, but has often struck deals before the deadline hit.

In March, it called of a general strike in the South  over the fate of laid off workers at Israel Chemicals just before the election. In December, it managed to clinch a deal on raising the minimum wage before a general strike went into effect.

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