Histadrut protest [File].
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israeli workers spent a collective 103,554 workdays on strike in 2014, nearly double the 52,274 days spent striking in 2013, according to data compiled by the Economy Ministry. That was still about a quarter the level of 2012, which stood at a whopping 462,960 workdays.
The data showed that roughly twothirds of the 26 strikes in 2014 were in public entities, such as government, education and health services, with the rest from the private sector. Some 38,808 workers participated in the strikes.
By far, the largest issue that caused workers to strike and cost the largest number of lost workdays was potential layoffs. The issue drove 54 percent of striking workers to strike and accounted for 64% of the lost workdays. The next largest cause for striking was disputes over labor agreements.
The vast majority of the strikes, 65%, were over in three days or less, but 23% extended beyond nine days.
Despite the doubling of days lost to strikes compared with the previous year, the Economy Ministry characterized the level of strikes as “stable,” noting that many threats to strike never came to fruition as the parties came to a settlement.
“This stability characterizes the labor relations in recent years and is testament to the preservation of clear rules of the game among the labor organizations in Israel,” said Shlomo Yitzhaki, who is in charge of labor relations for the Economy Ministry. The threat of a general strike in December over the minimum wage, for example, was averted by an agreement to increase pay from NIS 4,300 to NIS 5,000 over two years (a subsequent agreement promises a further increase to NIS 5,300).
Other notable strikes, however, did go into effect. For example, the Postal Service stopped operating at full service for several weeks as negotiations were conducted over an efficiency plan that included layoffs.
This year could already be on its way to exceed 2014 in terms of lost workdays.
An ongoing strike at Israel Chemicals has raged for months and nearly shut down the entire South before March’s general election.