Social Workers 311.
(photo credit: RUTH EGLASH)
Despite optimism that Tuesday would be its last day, the social workers’ strike
will enter its 11th day on Wednesday, after 10 hours of talks between the
Finance Ministry and the Social Workers Union, backed by Histadrut labor
federation officials, failed to produce an agreement.
The remaining bone
of contention involves the mechanism for ensuring that social workers who are
employed by NGOs funded by the state receive the raise the sides agreed
According to the understandings, those social workers will be now
earning at least NIS 7,100, which is the average wage of a state-employed social
worker with five years’ experience. The representatives of the social workers
are insisting that the state ensure that the additional funds it gives the NGOs
will reach the employees, but the state has no interest in such
There are some 5,000 social workers employed by
nongovernmental organizations funded by the state.
employed directly by the state or municipalities number approximately 10,000,
and the sides have already agreed on a raise of their wages by an average of 25
percent, including in it the 7.25% raise all state employees received last
December, and another NIS 1,100. The social workers will also see a 2% raise in
the money allocated by their employers for pensions and social benefits, from
17.5% to 19.5%, and receive a one-time grant of NIS 2,000.
In return, the
social workers will now be obligated to work 40.5 hours a week instead of the 39
to which they have hitherto committed.
Some 150 local authorities held a
one-day strike on Tuesday in solidarity with the social workers. The Union of
Local Authorities’ plan for a strike that would include all the authorities fell
through after the Forum of 15 – which unites 15 large cities, including Tel
Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba, Netanya, Ra’anana and Herzliya – declared on Monday it
would not be participating.
Meanwhile Tuesday, some 200 social work
students from Tel Aviv University blocked the city’s Rehov Arlozorov for three
hours after rumors began circulating about an impending deal with the Treasury.
The spontaneous demonstration began outside the Histadrut building in the city,
where the talks were taking place, and then spread to the road, reinforced by
social workers who arrived at the scene.
The students were concerned that
the social workers employed by the NGOs would not be receiving the benefits that
the stateemployed social workers were to get. Five students were arrested during