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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Bakeries across the country said Wednesday they will exercise their right to raise the price of controlled breads by 10.6 percent next week without government permission, after the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry failed to respond to their previous requests for price hikes.
"We asked the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry over two months ago to raise the price of controlled breads in response to the continued increase in global wheat prices, but the ministry made us wait, letting us believe it would lift bread out of government supervision, which it didn't," Yohanan Aharonson of Davidovich Bakery & Sons Ltd. and head of the Bakers' Association told The Jerusalem Post. "At the same time, we did not get a negative response to our request.
"There is a clause in the price supervision law stating that in cases in which the manufacturer asked the government for a change in prices and did not get a negative response, he is entitled to adjust prices accordingly."
Bakeries including Angel, Berman and Davidovich said on Wednesday that they would raise the prices they charge for controlled breads, which include plain white and dark bread - sliced and unsliced - as well as halla baked for Shabbat, by 10.6% beginning next Tuesday.
In a letter sent by the Bakers' Association's legal adviser to Zvia Dori, supervisor of prices at the Industry Trade and Labor Ministry, the bakery owners stated that since their request for raising prices was ignored, they were entitled to exercise their legal right to raise prices of controlled breads unilaterally without the government's decision.
"I am very disappointed about the unilateral decision of the bakeries to increase prices of breads that are under supervision," Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai said in response, adding that he would act to find ways of compensation for needy families.
Yishai ordered the ministry's legal adviser to examine the legal ground for the decision taken by the bakeries.
Just last month, the government approved a temporary compensation package to assist low-income families to cope with rising bread prices, a move that was to have been the first step toward reforms that would transfer pricing from government control into the hands of the countries' bakeries. However, at the end of November, Yishai rescinded his decision to lift bread prices out of government control, saying bakery owners were planning to raise prices at an "unreasonable" rate.
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