Labor Court rejects Histadrut request to strike

Histadrut ordered to resume negotiations with Treasury over employment status of contract workers for 3 weeks; court does not rule out future strike.

By NADAV SHEMER, JPOST.COM STAFF
January 10, 2012 20:10
2 minute read.
Judge Nili Arad, National Labor Court president

Labor Court President Judge Nili Arad 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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The National Labor Court on Tuesday ruled not to allow the Histadrut Labor Federation to hold a general strike over the employment status of contract workers.

The court, however, did not rule out the possibility that a strike on the issue could be allowed in the future. The court ordered the Histadrut to return to negotiations with the Treasury and employers for a period of three weeks until January 31.

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The Histadrut will be allowed to make an additional request to strike if the conflict has not been resolved at the end of the negotiating period.

The National Labor Court came to the decision on Tuesday after having held a hearing on the issue on Monday.

Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini told Judge Nili Arad that the aim of the request was to speed up negotiations, because since the court’s previous decision against a strike, “the Treasury has been ignoring us.”

The court first ordered the sides to conduct negotiations over the status of contract workers after allowing the Histadrut to hold a fourhour strike on November 7.

The Histadrut says it wants to put an end to the practice of employing cleaners and maintenance personnel on a contractual basis, by transferring them into direct employment. The Treasury says it supports improving the labor conditions of contract workers, but rejects discontinuing the practice altogether.

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“If there is no right to strike over the issue of contract workers, then over what other matters is it still possible to strike?” Eini said at Monday’s hearing. “I am pleased that at least the judges are still public servants, because if the Treasury has its way on outsourcing services, soon they will outsource judiciary services and judges too will become contract workers.”

Eini said negotiations were at a dead end, and accused the Treasury of withdrawing an offer to approve salary supplements for cleaners employed in the public sector on a contractual basis.

The Treasury, represented at the deliberation by an attorney, called the strike “political,” and said the matter should be resolved through collective agreements such as the one signed between it and the Histadrut one year ago.

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