Yacimovich: Contract workers' strike is justified

"The state is blind to these workers, although they make up a third of its employees," says Labor Party leader on "moral phenomenon."

By JPOST.COM STAFF, NADAV SHEMER
November 4, 2011 10:41
2 minute read.
Shelly Yacimovich

Shelly Yacimovich_311. (photo credit: LAHAV HARKOV)

 
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There is no strike more justified than Monday's expected general strike concerning the employment status of contract workers, Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich said Friday morning in an interview with Israel Radio.

According to Yacimovich, the issue of the contract workers is a moral one that is growing progressively more despicable. She added that the state is the primary criminal in this phenomenon; it is blind to the contract workers' existence, although they make up a third of it's employees.

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Manufacturers Association President Shraga Brosh, told Israel Radio that he mostly agreed with Yacimovich. Brosh proposed a compromise that employees such as full-time cleaners, be absorbed in the workplace, while employees whose work requires expertise, such as retention and security sectors, continue to be employed by a contractor.

The Histadrut labor federation has threatened to strike starting 6 a.m. on Monday, after it and the Finance Ministry failed to reach an agreement over the employment status of public-sector contract workers.

The strike would most likely affect airports, seaports, local authorities, government offices and other areas of the public sector, the Histadrut said on Thursday, adding that it intends to extend the strike to private businesses. It said full details would be released on Sunday.

“A strike is the last option, but we had no choice after the Treasury announced yesterday [Wednesday] that it had no intention of moving contract workers into direct employment, and thereby reducing this shameful phenomenon that has taken root in Israeli society,” Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini said in a statement.

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“To my regret, the Finance Ministry is blocking all possibility of arriving at an agreement. The absorption of these workers into the public sector is repulsive for them. It does not match their governing ideology. In their eyes, absorbing contract workers is like bringing a pig into a synagogue. It is akin to conversion,” Eini said.

The Finance Ministry did not issue a response by press time. But Treasury sources said they hoped that the Histadrut’s decision to start the strike on Monday would give the sides an opportunity from Friday to Sunday to avert it by reaching a deal.

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