Dan bus workers held an improvised strike early Tuesday evening just hours after Histadrut labor federation head Ofer Eini declared a general labor dispute in protest over the Finance Ministry's refusal to raise public sector salaries, while Israel Postal Company workers announced a strike action to begin Wednesday morning, causing delays in mail deliveries.
The Dan company's drivers stopped their buses early Tuesday evening at the nearest bus station, bringing their daily routes in the Gush Dan area to a complete halt during peak hours. The walkout was announced hours after the Histadrut labor federation, which represents more than a quarter of the country's workers, declared a dispute in the public sector over the government's "refusal to discuss wage increases." The declaration gives the country's largest labor union the legal right to call a strike if the dispute is not resolved within 14 days.
The labor dispute includes about half a million workers, including employees in government offices, the Bank of Israel, ports, trains, the postal service, some hospitals and government companies, such as Israel Electric.
Furthermore, serious delays in mail deliveries around the country will begin Wednesday morning, along with other sanctions by Israel Postal Company workers. The union decided Tuesday to protest "foot-dragging" in negotiations between the Communications and Finance Ministries on the one hand and the union on the other. The unions alleged that the ministries were doing nothing to prevent the dismissal of thousands of staffers resulting from the opening of the postal market to competition.
In addition, National Insurance Institute (NII) allotments will not be distributed in any post offices. Payments to state agencies, such as income tax, VAT, NII and other payments, will not be accepted. The transfer of vehicle ownership will not be facilitated at postal branches and the free distribution of diplomatic mail will be halted.
Starting Thursday, post offices will be open only during the morning hours. No post offices will be open during the afternoons. The union said it plans to carry out a full strike and cessation of postal services starting next week, but the exact date has not yet been announced.
Judy Siegel and Bloomberg contributed to this report