Histadrut accused of dismissing negotiations

Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce writes to National Labor Court: "No need for an unnecessary strike" that will damage economy.

Histadrut chair Ofer Eini at Labor Court_311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Histadrut chair Ofer Eini at Labor Court_311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Israel’s largest business-sector representative body accused the Histadrut labor federation on Monday of not making enough of an effort to negotiate before it requested to hold a strike over the employment status of contract workers.
“There is no need for an unnecessary strike and for damage to be done to the economy just because one has the ability to do so. Improvement of [contract workers’] conditions, combined with stronger enforcement, are the right way,” the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce wrote in a letter to the National Labor Court.
The court is scheduled to hear the Histadrut’s request on January 8. The Histadrut told the court in its submission on Sunday that the nearly two-months-long negotiations with the Finance Ministry, Union of Local Authority and Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations have reached a dead end.
The Histadrut is calling for the number of contract workers to be reduced by moving some of them into direct employment. The Finance Ministry has said it is prepared to improve the conditions of contract workers, but opposes discontinuing the use of cleaning and security contract companies altogether.
In its submission to the court, the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC) attached a statement of understanding relating to contract workers that it signed on Sunday with the General Federation of Workers in Israel (GFWI) – the country’s second-largest workers organization.
The FICC and GFWI agreed that in the event that an employer discovers a contract company violating workers’ rights while carrying out services, the employer should be permitted to end the agreement with the contract company without compensation and with 30-days notice.