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The national union of Israel Postal Company workers has decided to distribute National Insurance Institute (NII) allotments in all postal branches, starting Friday, despite sanctions that began this week. The union said it acceded to a request by Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini, who said failure to hand out the allotments would hurt the needy.
Serious delays in mail deliveries around the country began on Wednesday to protest "foot dragging" in negotiations between the Communications and Finance Ministries on the one hand and the union on the other. The sanctions include refusal by postal workers to accept payments to state agencies, such as income tax, VAT and National Insurance. The transfer of vehicle ownership is also not being facilitated at postal branches, and free distribution of diplomatic mail has been halted. Post offices are open only during the morning hours.
A "dramatic meeting" is due to be held Sunday between worker representatives and Communications Minister Ariel Attias, according to the union spokesman, whose home in the Har Nof quarter of Jerusalem has been a focus of demonstrations by postal workers. The union said it plans to carry out a full strike and cessation of postal services starting next week (the exact date has not yet been announced) if a solution is not found.
The workers say the ministries are doing nothing to prevent the dismissal of thousands of staffers with the full opening of competition in postal services. Starting July 1, commercial firms will be able to compete with the Postal Company in the dispatch of bulk mail, which was forbidden until now. The Postal Company was not allowed by the government to make its rates more flexible to compete with entrepreneurs, the workers claim.
Last April, the Tel Aviv regional labor court urged serious negotiations between the two sides, but the union said these have not taken place.