Social Workers 311.
(photo credit: RUTH EGLASH)
Social workers held demonstrations nationwide on Sunday, the eighth day of their
strike, with no agreement in sight to ensure them the better wages and working
conditions they are demanding.
Hundreds of social workers blocked the Ein
Hamifratz junction between Haifa and Acre as part of their protest “against the
low wages and the Finance Ministry’s foot-dragging” in the negotiations, one of
the demonstrating social workers Ruth Jaeger said. Acre Mayor Shimon Lancry
participated in the protest.
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Similar demonstrations were held near the
Hadera Police Station near Route 4, where Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan also came to
show his support. There were also protests at the entrance to Safed and across
from the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
Talks held last week
between representatives of the Social Workers Union and the Finance Ministry
have yet to bear results.
Efrat Stretiner, a social worker for Hadera’s
Welfare Department, said that heavy traffic was caused by drivers who slowed
down to honk or shout their support for the strike, although the demonstrators
stood at the side of the road, bearing signs reading “We Are Not Social Slaves,”
“Justice, Not Charity.”
While no meeting had officially been scheduled,
it was widely believed that talks between the sides would resume with the return
of Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini from the United States on Sunday evening. When
that did not occur, there was talk about a meeting on Monday.
“It is all
in the hands of the Finance Ministry now,” said Social Workers Union spokesman
David Golan said.
The Union of Local Authorities has warned that if an
agreement isn’t reached by Monday night all the services the local authorities
provide, except for education, would be shut down in a solidarity strike that
would begin Tuesday.
Various protests are planned for Monday; these
include demonstrations in the country’s markets and a protest by haredi students
of social work in Jerusalem’s Malha shopping mall.
On Saturday, the
Social Workers Union allowed social workers in the Samaria Regional Council to
offer assistance to residents of Itamar, following the terror murders of five
members of the Fogel family.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this