Netanyahu calls on Histadrut to cancel scheduled strike

PM tells cabinet: "It's possible to find a just and responsible solution to the issue of the contract workers that won't hurt economy."

By NADAV SHEMER, JPOST.COM STAFF
November 6, 2011 11:39
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu [file]

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on the Histadrut Labor Federation to drop threats to enact a general strike, scheduled to begin Monday.

The Histadrut is demanding changes in the employment status of contract workers, who receive few of the benefits of direct employees. Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini has scheduled a strike to begin Moday at 6 a.m. that will include local authorities, public transportation, government offices, banks, Ben-Gurion International Airport, universities, seaports and the stock exchange. Public hospitals and the electricity company will work on Saturday schedules.

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Speaking at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said, "I turn to the heads of the Histadrut in a call to cancel the planned strike. I believe it is possible to find a just and responsible solution to the issue of the contract workers."

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Netanyahu stated that the solution must be just, "in that we all are aware of the troubles of the contract workers," and, "responsible, in that we must find a solution that will not hurt Israel's economy at a time when world markets are in turmoil."

The prime minister added that "the government under my authority and the Histadrut see eye to eye on the welfare of workers."

The Union of Local Authorities in Israel has filed an injunction against the strike, the organization said in a statement released Sunday.

A discussion of the injunction was scheduled to begin at around 6 p.m. on Sunday at the National Labor Court, according to the statement.

Eini told Army Radio on Sunday that only an injunction from the National Labor Court could succeed in preventing the strike.

On Thursday, Eini declared the general strike, saying: “A strike is the last option, but we had no choice after the Treasury announced yesterday that it had no intention of moving contract workers into direct employment, reducing this shameful phenomenon that has taken root in Israeli society.”

The Histadrut is calling for around 100,000 cleaning and maintenance staff, employed as contract workers in the public sector, to be moved to direct employment. Eini has compared contract workers to slaves.

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