Histadrut renews strike threat over contract workers

Labor federation accuses Finance Ministry is "backtracking" on negotiations in labor dispute.

Labor strike picket signs 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Labor strike picket signs 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The Histadrut labor federation has renewed its threat to call a general strike over contract workers, after what it called the Finance Ministry “backtracking” in negotiations.
Histadrut sources say that, last week, the ministry had agreed in principle to hire some contract workers by the public sector, including cleaners, but then reversed and said it would only “improve their terms.”
At the moment, unless there is a breakthrough in tonight’s meeting, tomorrow, the Histadrut will announce labor sanctions for later this week.
The Histadrut believes a general strike will cause the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce to immediately petition the National Labor Court for an injunction, and that a court hearing would create a dynamic for subsequent negotiations.
Based on past National Labor Court interventions, a general strike would last no more than a day or two. For now, however, the Histadrut is relying on threats of a strike to pressure the ministry.
Finance Ministry sources told Globes that budget director Gal Hershkowitz has rejected the hiring of contract workers, especially cleaning staff and security guards, but that it would improve their job terms.
The ministry may also agree to small-scale hiring of computer people, but only if they are working on longstanding projects at ministries with long-term contracts.