Farmers, gov't temporarily agree; strike called off

After three days, produce strike to end; Farmers and gov't to form committee to find solution to shortage of foreign workers.

November 24, 2010 19:48
1 minute read.
Arava farmers demonstrate for foreign workers

Farmers protest 311. (photo credit: Gilad Livni)

The Israeli Farmers Federation announced on Wednesday that it was calling off its produce strike after reaching an agreement with the government.

Starting on Thursday morning, the farmers will resume sending fresh produce to the markets, after having withheld it for three days.

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Federation secretary-general Avshalom Vilan and members of the Knesset Agricultural Lobby held a meeting with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon and Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Wednesday morning, in which it was decided that the sides would form a joint committee to find a solution to the farmers’ shortage of foreign workers within three weeks.

The committee, chaired by Agriculture Ministry Director- General Yossi Yishai and including representatives of the three ministries and the farmers, will work toward better implementation of the agreement the government signed with the farmers last May.

Speaking at a conference of mayors in the South, Steinitz said that despite the government’s desire to decrease dependence on foreign workers, he would approve the import of workers to complete the quota to which the government had agreed.

According to Dubi Amitai, president of the Israel Farmers Union, the farmers reserved the right to strike again if the committee failed to find a solution that was satisfactory to the farmers.

The recent strike was defined as a “warning strike,” with the farmers claiming that next time, they would give no advance notice and would not leave people time to stock up on fresh produce.

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