(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
One of Israel’s largest business organizations will petition the High Court of
Justice on Monday to prevent the Histadrut labor federation from holding a
general strike later this week.
National Labor Court President Nili Arad
lifted an injunction late last week against the Histadrut strike over the
employment status of contract workers, clearing the way for it to begin on
Her decision followed almost three months of
negotiations between the Histadrut, the Treasury and employers, which she
ordered after allowing the labor federation to hold a four-hour strike on
But the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC),
which represents some of the nation’s largest employers, said Sunday in a
preview to its High Court petition that the Histadrut was not using the strike
as a way to improve workers’ conditions, but rather as an attempt to change the
entire employment structure of the economy.
Arad’s decision took from the
state the authority over economic management and placed it in the hands of the
Histadrut, the FICC said in a statement to the press. It added that the only way
to solve the dispute is to improve workers’ conditions through collective
agreements, and not through allowing the Histadrut to decide how employers
manage their businesses.
“The entire business sector operates in a
competitive world, and if it does not have management flexibility, it will not
be able to compete. The direct result will be the collapse of thousands of
companies, as was the case during the crisis of the 1980s when labor-enterprise-
controlled companies like Koor and Solel Boneh collapsed because they were told
how and who to employ,” Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce President
Uriel Lynn said.
Histadrut representative Avi Nissenkorn and Treasury
representative Eyal Epstein were due to meet Sunday night to discuss the matter,
ahead of a meeting the next night between Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini and
Treasury budgets director Gal Hershkovitz.
Senior Histadrut officials
will convene at the labor federation’s headquarters on Monday afternoon in
preparation for the strike.
Should the strike go ahead, it will commence
on Wednesday at 6 a.m. Ben-Gurion Airport will shut down only between the hours
of 6 a.m. and noon each day, and all industries participating in the strike must
comply with certain conditions in order to ensure that they do not endanger
human life, personal safety or public health. Public transport services will be
permitted to strike only partially to avoid paralyzing the entire
Arad ordered that both sides continue negotiations for the time
being, and that they appear before her on Wednesday afternoon, after the strike