Kahlon set to make case to PM for sparing welfare budget

Welfare minister plans to meet with Netanyahu after announcements that ministry budgets will be cut to cover price reductions.

February 15, 2011 23:29
1 minute read.
Herzog passes portfolio to Kahlon

Herzog Kahlon 311. (photo credit: Avi Hayun)

Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon is set to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the coming days to discuss ways to avoid any cuts to his ministry’s budget, following announcements last week that government budgets will be cut to cover reducing the prices of basic commodities, a spokesman for the minister told The Jerusalem Post this week.

The spokesman said the ministry had not received any official notification that there would be a 2-percent cut to its budget.

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Meanwhile, in a statement Sunday, Kahlon said he was standing behind social workers currently embroiled in a battle with the Finance Ministry to improve their pay and work conditions.

“We have many common challenges, and improving social workers’ salaries and conditions is at the top of the agenda,” said Kahlon, who took over as minister last month. “I have, since my first day on the job, been working to improve the situation, and these steps are necessary to improve the welfare of many people.”

Last Wednesday, the Social Workers Union announced plans to call a labor dispute within 10 days after long-running negotiations to reach a salary agreement with the Treasury broke down.

A spokesman for the union told the Post Monday that since the announcement, meetings had been held with the Treasury, but the feeling was that no immediate solution would be found.

“The payment scale for social workers has not been reformed since 1976,” he said, adding that the slated 2% cut to all government ministries had little bearing on discussions about improving social workers’ salaries.

“Kahlon has taken up where [previous minister Isaac] Herzog left off and has been very supportive of this fight,” said the spokesman. “We know he is close to [Finance Minister Yuval] Steinitz, so we hope that he will be able to help.”

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