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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Leon Morozovsky is welcome to quit as the head of the Administerial and Clerical Workers Union (Histadrut ha-Ma'of), but he cannot legally split the group from the umbrella Histradrut labor federation, said Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini, who announced Thursday that he would dissolve the Ma'of's leadership.
"According to the New Histadrut's constitution, the Administerial and Clerical Workers Union is an integral part of the New Histadrut," Eini said.
The Histadrut's Coordination and Executive Committee submitted a proposal on Thursday to disperse the "reigning institutions" within the Ma'of, on which the Histadrut's elected body will vote Sunday. With the proposals' passage, these same "reigning institutions" - which the Histadrut said included Morozovsky as chairman of the Ma'of union - would "cease to serve in their functions, and their authority will be null and void," the Histadrut said.
The Ma'of represents workers in the banks, local authorities, municipalities, religious authorities, public corporations and retail chains.
Morozovsky announced Wednesday that the Ma'of would split off from the Histadrut in protest of what he described as the warped priorities of the umbrella federation.
More specifically, Morozovsky charged that "the general Histadrut does not adequately represent the struggle of the workers in the local authorities, whose wage is withheld for months and for whom deposits into pension and provident funds are transferred months and even years late."
He also charged that the NIS 120 million yearly in dues paid by Ma'of members goes primarily "to lobbying and side operations that serve 'other' interests instead of the needs of the workers." Large amounts of the union's funding is diverted to "the inflated budget" of the elected leadership body and redundant jobs, he said.
"We have fallen to an unprecedented low. The general Histadrut's priorities are faulty at their foundation. Thousands of workers are left without economic security, without a livelihood and without the ability to defend their rights," he said, adding that an independent Ma'of would "focus on the workers."
The Histadrut countered that Morozovsky would have to collect more than 100,000 signatures of administerial and clerical workers to realize his group's secession from the umbrella union, and accused Morozovsky himself of "allowing the wage crisis in the local authorities and religious councils to continue."
"When I realized that nothing was advancing in the matter, I took it upon myself to handle the crisis, which apparently hurt [Morozovsky's] honor," Eini said.
Labor lawyer Dror Gal corroborated the Histadrut's statement that Morozovsky's announcement alone does not mean that the Ma'of has already left the umbrella labor federation.
Meanwhile, a source close to the main workers' committees that make up the Ma'of union said that it appeared that most would stay with the Histadrut.
"I assume that someone will leave with him. Morozovsky is an intelligent man, and certainly made checks before announcing the move, but I haven't heard anyone say they would quit [the Histadrut]. In fact, everyone whom I have heard said they would stay. I don't understand [Morozovsky's move] at all," the source said.