Employers getting richer, employees getting poorer

"The last decade was not a good one for employees," Adva NGO director tells 'Post'.

May 19, 2009 23:41
1 minute read.
The Jerusalem Post

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Despite periods of economic growth over the past decade, with businesses and factories benefiting, the income of the average Israeli worker has fallen drastically, according to a report published Tuesday by the Tel Aviv-based Adva Center, which performs policy analysis on equality and social justice. According to Adva academic director Dr. Shlomo Swirski, who co-authored the report with Etty Konor-Attias, despite an increase in the gross national product, that wealth has failed to filter down to the average citizen. "The last decade was not a good one for employees," Swirski told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, explaining that after the mini-recession that was spurred by the second intifada in 2002-2003, many firms made speedy financial recoveries to enjoy increases in income until the onset of the current economic crisis. In contrast, the incomes of employees, especially those in the lower percentiles, did not increase. The 25-page report called for further research into why employees did not benefit from the country's economic growth, Swirski said. He cited the increasing weakness of the unions, such as the Histadrut Labor Federation, and a changing labor market structure that encourages more freelancing, independents and flexible positions. Many of those most hurt by the lack of growth in income were those who earned minimum wage, Swirski said. The minimum wage for full time adult workers is NIS 3,850 a month. "It's time that attempts were made to stop weakening Israel's workforce," Swirski said, "because if the situation does not improve then we will get caught in a cycle whereby low-income workers will not be able to afford to give their children a good enough education, and that will hurt the country's economy in the future."

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