'MKs shouldn't get raises if regular workers don't'

Labor leader Yacimovich asks Knesset to cancel raises; PM, President, Ministers' salaries to increase by 1.4%, MKs by 3%.

Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
As MKs and ministers prepared to get a pay hike, Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich on Monday demanded an end to their automatic annual raises.
“While senior government officials’ pay increases automatically, most of the public’s salary has remained low and even decreased,” Yacimovich said. “Increasing [MKs’ and ministers’] salary according to increases in the national average salary is a privilege that the vast majority of the public does not enjoy.”
The prime minister and other ministers’ salaries increase according to the consumer price index. The index for 2012 will be determined on January 15, but is estimated at 1.4 percent.
The pay of MKs, judges and the president will be raised by 3%.
Following their raises, President Shimon Peres will make NIS 53,457 per month and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will make NIS 46,613 each month. Ministers, Bank of Israel Gov. Stanley Fischer and State Comptroller Joseph Shapira will earn NIS 41,868 and Knesset members will get NIS 38,296.
Yacimovich pointed out that while senior government officials do not make as much as CEOs of publicly traded companies, they earn much more than social workers and teachers.
“Public representatives cannot get the feeling that they were anointed as kings. I see no reason for their salary to be increased, when it [already] is relatively high,” she said.
The Labor leader asked Knesset House Committee chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) to call a meeting to discuss MKs’ salaries and for Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) to cancel the pay increase.
Yacimovich added that, if she leads the next government, she will invest in creating jobs with fair pay before worrying about government officials’ salaries.
In February, the Knesset House Committee unanimously approved a monthly increase of NIS 1,191 and a one-time payment of NIS 14,995 to make up for a two-year salary freeze, following recommendations by a public panel on MKs’ salaries.
At the time, Speaker Reuven Rivlin told the House Committee that in 1996 the Knesset established the panel to determine MK salaries, and that the committee had to accept its decisions. He added that his opinion would be the same even if the panel had suggested lower salaries.
According to Rivlin, MKs should make enough money so as to avoid the temptation to take bribes, and should remain “free from outside influences.”