Egged drivers threaten nationwide strike

Egged drivers are threatening a nationwide strike beginning on March 21 if the company's management and government authorities do not come to terms over a controversial subsidy agreement by that time, the Histadrut labor federation announced on Monday. Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn blamed the Transportation and Finance ministries for their "foot-dragging" over the subsidy agreement, which concerns the amount the government will subsidize Egged operations in the coming years.
"Thousands of dedicated Egged drivers, who are transporting nearly 1.5 million passengers each day, are paying a heavy price for the powerlessness of the state, which has been neglecting the matter for a long time - too long a time," Nissenkorn said.
The government is demanding that Egged sell about half of its routes to other companies, reducing its market share from 37% to 20%, according to Globes. In doing so, the company could generate enough money for the retirement of some 3,000 drivers and increase competition in the public transportation sector, the Globes report said. Egged, on the other hand, refuses to decrease its market share, and instead is demanding a NIS 1.5m. increase in government funds for drivers taking early retirement, the report added.