Local authorities to begin open-ended strike

Municipalities, parking enforcement, trash collection will all come to a halt if last minute talks with PM fail.

By NADAV SHEMER
January 15, 2012 18:28
1 minute read.
Garbage men

Garbage men 521. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Garbage will begin to pile up on the streets of major cities and motorists will be free to park wherever they like from Monday, as municipal authorities go on an open-ended strike in protest over government funding.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was meeting with representatives from the Union of Local Authorities Sunday evening in a last-minute bid to resolve the dispute, for which the union says the Finance Ministry and government ministers are to blame.

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As opposed to previous occasions, the three biggest cities – Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa - will all join this strike. Municipal offices will close, and garbage collectors, parking inspectors and veterinary workers will stop work.

The union says it is protesting a recent decision to increase the rate of arnona (property tax) against the wishes of municipal authorities, as well as “populist laws and bills” that direct money away from education, student safety, transport, the environment, welfare, culture and pensioners.

“This is not social justice, it is social damage,” IULA Chairman and Ma’alot-Tarshiha Mayor Shlomo Bohbot said. “The government is taking money from its citizens’ pockets in order to fund services in another pocket. We will not allow them to hurt our residents.”

Incidentally, the strike comes less than one week after the National Labor Court ruled not to allow the Histadrut labor federation to hold a general strike over the employment status of contract workers. The Union of Local Authorities is on the state’s side on that issue, having opposed the strike since it was first threatened by the Histadrut in October.

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