Finance Min. ordered to meet IBA salary demands

The committees gave the Finance Ministry a 72-hour window to transfer the money to the workers.

iba biz 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
iba biz 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Knesset's Economics and Finance Committees, in a specially called joint session on Tuesday, ordered the Finance Ministry to pay the Israel Broadcasting Authority's workers their requested three-month salary advance as part of the ongoing negotiations between the IBA's workers, management and the Finance Ministry. The committees gave the Finance Ministry a 72-hour window to transfer the money to the workers. "We are awarding this money to the workers as a way of helping to bring the IBA and the government closer to a resolution," said MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), chairman of the Economics Committee. "The work that the IBA does is very important to the Israeli public and we hope that this decision will help close the gap that now exists between the workers and the management." The IBA has been operating under enormous and ever increasing deficits for several years, and the Finance Ministry made it clear that without drastic reforms, the IBA could no longer rely on the Treasury for support. The reforms call for changes in the structure of the IBA, the creation of new wage agreements and the reduction of the work force. As of Tuesday, IBA workers had not received their October salaries. "There is great importance to making sure the planned reforms of the IBA actually happen and this decision was made with that in mind as it will move the reforms along," said MK Stas Meseznikov (Israel Beitenu), chairman of the Finance Committee. Separately, on Tuesday, the Economics Committee approved the Bank of Israel's request to delay by two months the start of the planned banking reforms, which are aimed primarily at reducing the number of fees charged by banks from 400 to 70. Bank fees that are under review for regulation include bank-to-bank transfers, which cost NIS 43, and bank statement retrievals, which cost NIS 18 per page. The Bank of Israel requested an extension from the Economics Committee in late September, claiming that they were not on schedule to meet the original October 5 launch date. The committee granted the bank an extension until January 5.