Social workers may declare strike over salary increases

Negotiations with Treasury come to standstill; Social Workers Union seeking approval from its leadership to declare an industrial dispute.

January 13, 2011 05:37
1 minute read.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz

311_steinitz is feeling cross. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

The Social Workers Union announced Wednesday that negotiations over salary increases with the Treasury had come to a standstill and that it was seeking approval from its leadership to declare an industrial dispute or possible strike in the coming days.

“Social workers have been in negotiations with the Treasury for more than six months to increase salaries, which have not been adjusted significantly for more than 16 years,” said a statement from the union. “Today, nearly one in three social workers receives income support to boost their salaries.”

Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog expressed support for the social workers and urged Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to “go out in the field and see how social workers deal daily with society’s hardships for an extremely scant salary.”

In response, the Finance Ministry said it had made a generous offer to the union “above and beyond” the standard pay raise.

“Despite this, they have decided to increase the dispute by calling for sanctions because from their point of view, the negotiations have broken down,” read a statement.

Last week, the Welfare and Social Services Ministry released a report highlighting the lack of resources and low pay that the country’s social workers face, despite dealing with some of the country’s worst social problems. It estimated that social workers take on between 300 and 400 cases each.

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