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