Yuval Steinitz 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file[)
Israelis woke up to a strike-free country on Tuesday, after a deal was reached on
worker salaries during a late-night meeting between representatives of the
Finance Ministry and the Histadrut national labor union.
appears to be the big winner under the new deal, with hundreds of thousands of
public-sector workers set to receive a 6.25-percent raise over the next three
years, or a 1.78% raise each year. The Histadrut had initially pushed for a
10.5% raise over three years, while the Finance Ministry had at first insisted
on no more than 1.5%. Each publicsector worker will also receive a one-time
supplement of NIS 2,000 from the government on their November paycheck,
regardless of their salary.
The raises will cover all Histadrut workers
at the same percentage, regardless of whether they are electrical cooperative
employees making NIS 30,000 per month, or municipal garbage workers pulling in
barely more than the minimum wage.
For its part, the Finance Ministry
managed to avoid the tremendous costs of a general strike, which would have shut
down the country’s only international airport and kept all government offices
The deal was reached at 4 a.m. after 12 hours of negotiations at
the Finance Ministry offices in Jerusalem. The deal includes no requirements for
reform on behalf of the Histadrut, but the Finance Ministry did manage to gain
an agreement that the labor federation would not hold any further work stoppages
until the end of the biannual budget in December 2012.
will receive extra assistance under the new deal, in the form of a NIS 300
monthly supplement for children under the age of five and an additional NIS 200
for a second child of the same age.
In a press conference after the
agreement was reached, Steinitz said that the deal showed that “talking and
mutual respect is the best way to lead the Israeli economy,” adding that the
deal was beneficial to both the Israeli economy and public-sector
At the same press conference, Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini said
that the deal represented “one of the only times that a salary deal was reached
without the necessity for even a single day of strikes.”
Both sides, he
said, managed to “reach an agreement that is good for the workers.”