It took three years of negotiations with many threats, false hopes, frustrations
and disappointments along the way, but at last the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, the Treasury’s wages director, the Histadrut labor federation and the
Jerusalem Journalists Association have signed all the necessary papers for the
introduction of new wage agreements at the IBA.
This means that the IBA’s
much-vaunted reforms can finally be implemented.
In fact, the process
took a lot longer. The Treasury had been complaining for more than 20 years
about the IBA’s ever-growing deficit.
These complaints were often
accompanied by threats of suspension of budgets and the possible demise of
public broadcasting unless the IBA introduced drastic efficiency
Committees were set up by various ministers and IBA chairmen
responsible for the implementation of the Broadcasting Authority Law to look
into ways and means of making the IBA more cost efficient, and the bottom line
was always a massive payroll reduction that was strongly resisted by workers and
It was only in the past year or two when agreements were
reached to make severance packages sufficiently attractive to be acceptable,
that negotiators were able to make real progress. Even then, there was always
some issue that had been overlooked and someone to throw a spoke in the
But all that is now history.
IBA director-general Moti
Sklar has written to MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen, chairman of the Knesset Finance
Committee, informing him of the signing of the agreements, which in addition to
wage structures include rules and regulations for new work conditions for all
branches of employment within the IBA.
The agreements also include the
efficiency measure whereby 700 IBA employees will be made
Other clauses cover the acquisition of the latest technical
equipment, and the budget of millions of shekels for externally contracted
productions. Paying an overall sum for dramas, documentaries, satirical shows,
etc. will be less costly for the IBA than paying overtime fees to IBA staff
members engaged in such productions, which is one of the reasons that the IBA
can afford to reduce its human resources to such a large extent.
all that has been achieved, Sklar pointed out in his letter, nothing can go
ahead without essential amendments to the Broadcasting Authority Law and the
final green light of the Finance Ministry, which has to provide the funds for
Any delay in funding or in amending the law will prompt a
crisis in confidence, Sklar said, adding that 1,900 employees can no longer
function on the brink of uncertainty.
Creative forces both inside and
outside the IBA have been on hold throughout the period of negotiations, Sklar
Copies of the letter have been sent to close to 20 relevant people
including Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu,
who took over responsibility for the Broadcasting Authority after Public
Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein gave up the job in