Strike at Ben Gurion Airport 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
For the fourth time Wednesday night, the Treasury and the Histadrut Labor Federation extended a deadline for the conclusion of negotiations. The sides are now scheduled to announce an update on the talks at 8 a.m.
Officials have indicated that real progress has been made in the talks.
Judge Nili Arad,
president of the National Labor Court, ordered Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
and Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini to continue their talks. They had originally been asked to notify her on the outcome of negotiations by 1
a.m, but extended that deadline multiple times.
notification, the National Labor Court is expected to make a ruling regarding
whether the general strike can continue and if so, in what format.
Earlier, the High Court of Justice refused on
Tuesday to intervene in the Labor Court’s decision that the strike could
ahead. The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce had petitioned the
Court, arguing that the strike would cause extensive damage to the
that it was not legitimate because its aim was to change employment
not protect workers’ rights.
In rejecting the petition, the High Court
ordered the parties to attend a National Labor Court hearing for further
The open-ended general strike began on Wednesday at 6 a.m.,
after all-night negotiations between Eini and Steinitz ended without an
agreement on the employment status of contract workers, who do not receive
tenure or benefits.
Eini is asking to allow for the partial transfer of cleaning
workers to direct employment, transfer of contract workers whose jobs mirror
directly employed workers to direct employment, and granting full workers rights
to those who remain as contract workers.
According to a Finance Ministry
statement, Steinitz offered to provide hundreds of millions of shekels to
improve the work conditions of contract workers. The statement added that the
Histadrut was insisting on an “unnecessary strike” that would cost the economy
billions of shekels.
Banks, government ministries and railway depots were
left shuttered on Wednesday, and air traffic was grounded at Ben-Gurion Airport
until the early afternoon.
Wednesday was a normal work day for contract
workers, who are not part of the Histadrut.