Court to discuss lifeguard sanctions

Lifeguards protesting low salaries of rookies who earn NIS 19.50 per hour.

August 9, 2007 20:11
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Representatives of the Lifeguards Union and the Histadrut will explain to the National Labor Court on Friday why they should be allowed to resume sanctions over the weekend. The 9 a.m. discussion was set following a request by the National Union of Local Authorities for an injunction against the sanctions, which the Lifeguards Union put into effect last weekend and vowed to continue this week. The lifeguards are protesting the low salaries and social benefits of rookie lifeguards, who earn NIS 19.50 per hour - minimum wage. The National Union of Local Authorities has offered them a NIS 1-per-hour raise. "There is a valid wage agreement until the end of 2008 [between the Histadrut and the National Union of Local Authorities], and there is no rational cause to reopen this agreement - certainly not by strikes," said National Union of Local Authorities spokesman Motty Dannos. "Unlike the lifeguards claim, rookie lifeguards earn NIS 26 per hour and NIS 7,000 on a monthly average - reasonable payment compared to other municipal workers," he contended. "Despite that, we negotiated with them, but their demands were unreasonable and included scandalous additions of payment to their salaries, which we cannot agree to. We hope the Labor Court will not let this anarchy, which cost the lives of three bathers last weekend, continue," Dannos said. Histadrut spokesman Eyal Malma said in response that the court discussion would take place unless the two sides managed to reach an agreement by Friday morning. If the court approves the sanctions, all lifeguarding services will stop at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, except at beaches in Tel Aviv and Haifa, where lifeguarding services will continue as usual until 7 p.m. The Lifeguards Union has asked the public not to bathe at beaches where there are no lifeguards on duty.

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