Kibbutz Movement calls for steps to close salary gaps

Kibbutz Movement calls f

The Kibbutz Movement is urging kibbutzim to adopt measures aimed at bridging the phenomenon of widening salary gaps within "renewal" kibbutzim which have undergone a privatization process. "There is a need for transparency regarding economic gaps within the kibbutzim to set salary boundaries and take the necessary steps to close widening salary gaps," said Ze'ev Shor, secretary of the Kibbutz Movement. Next Thursday, the Kibbutz Movement will hold a conference to vote on the implementation of recommendations put together by the movement, which are aimed at bridging economic gaps within privatized kibbutzim. The steps include measures to close salary gaps so that the ratio between the highest and the lowest salary will not be more than 3:1, compared with 4:1 currently, and limit executive salaries. Kibbutz members working in agricultural and general services jobs in the community earn an average monthly salary of NIS 4,100, while members in senior jobs such as chairman, community head or secretary earn an average monthly salary of between NIS 15,500 to NIS 17,200. A survey conducted two months ago among 190 privatized kibbutzim found that 69 percent of kibbutz members were earning an average monthly salary of below NIS 7,000 and 11% of members were earning an average monthly salary of more than NIS 9,000. In addition the survey showed that over 60% believe that they earn a good salary. The Kibbutz Movement noted that salary levels were reasonable since kibbutz members were not paying rent and most other expenses were subsidized. Other recommendations of the movement which will be voted on next week include the implementation of a progressive income tax system to increase taxable income of high earners and the establishment of mutual assistance funds for kibbutz members. At present there are 256 kibbutzim in Israel, including 16 religious kibbutzim located in peripheral areas. Some 190 of these have, in recent years, undergone an organizational and ideological transformation from the traditional collective community model to the so-called renewal kibbutz model. The renewal kibbutzim have effectively been subject to a privatization process which means that every kibbutz member is responsible for earning his own living and salary, efficiency of new administrative methods are instituted and the "free ride" phenomenon is reduced. Such kibbutzim also feature a "security network" of mutual guarantees including education and health care services and a guaranteed pension system intended to ensure a reasonable quality of life to economically weaker segments of the kibbutz population. These services are supported partly by the taxable income revenues of each kibbutz member.