Ofer Eini 311.
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini said Sunday that the
general strike scheduled for Monday over the employment status of
contract workers will not be limited to a pre-ordained period of time
and can only be prevented by an injunction from the National Labor
Eini made the comments in an interview with Army Radio
after having concluded a meeting with Finance Ministry budget director
Gal Hershkovitz without making any progress to avert the strike late on
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will respect all Labor Court decisions, we are not outlaws, but we have
a real problem here that I believe needs to be handled seriously,"
Eini met with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on
Friday afternoon, but the two failed to agree over the former’s demands on the
employment status of contract workers, who receive few of the benefits of direct employees . Eini has compared contract workers to
The Histadrut is demanding the movement of some contract workers to civil service collective agreements.
The Histadrut released Sunday a list of work places that will take part
in the general strike scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. on Monday. The list
includes local authorities, public transportation, government offices, banks,
Ben-Gurion International Airport, public hospitals, universities,
seaports and the stock exchange.
Eini rejected claims that he was enacting the strike in order to help
his campaign for reelection to the Histadrut chairmanship. "I do not
need a strike in order to win," he contended.
No new meeting between the sides had been set as of Sunday morning and
the next meeting between the Histadrut and the Treasury could occur in
the National Labor Court.
The government was making a big effort to halt “a completely unnecessary
strike,” Steinitz told Channel 2’s Meet the Press on Saturday evening.
He said he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were ready to raise the
minimum wage for contract workers and to strengthen protection of their
rights, but that they would not do anything that could harm the
“We are ready to take the models of advanced-welfare states such as
Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands. In Sweden, cleaning and guard work
is done by contract workers, but in Sweden they also protect the
workers’ rights at all costs,” Steinitz said.
He added, however, that cleaning and security companies serviced the
public sector in every OECD-member country, without exception.
Eini declared the general strike on Thursday, saying: “A strike is the
last option, but we had no choice after the Treasury announced yesterday
that it had no intention of moving contract workers into direct
reducing this shameful phenomenon that has taken root in Israeli
The Histadrut is calling for around 100,000 cleaning and maintenance
staff, employed as contract workers in the public sector, to be moved to
On Friday the Manufacturers Association applied to the National Labor Court for an injunction to halt the strike.
The association said a general strike would cost the economy around to take the models of advanced-welfare states such as
e could grow
exponentially given the effects of global economic troubles on Israel.
“I’m sorry that it has gotten to a situation in which we need to request
an injunction from the labor court to prevent this strike. I’m certain
there is no need for a strike, and that we can reach a solution if all
sides insist on negotiations and recognize that the status of contract
and service workers must improve,” Manufacturers Association chairman
Shraga Brosh said.
Brosh called on Netanyahu to use the time remaining until Monday to
force Treasury officials to realize that this is not the time to allow a
“I am convinced that the prime minister wants to find a real solution to
these problems, but it’s a shame that the Treasury officials who are so
steadfast in their own opinions are blocking such a solution.
The Treasury officials refuse to understand that the cost we all pay
after a strike or after Knesset intervention will be tenfold the cost of
any compromise they must reach to avert the strike.”