February 10: Views on a strike

It’s time the Knesset passed a law disallowing strikes if they are not declared before midnight the night before.

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Views on a strike
Sir, – The very morning we have the beginning of a general strike (“General strike to start today pending talks breakthrough,” February 8), we read on your front page: “No fooling: IDF faces near-shutdown on April 1.” This comes on the apparent eve of a full-out survival war with Iran and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas.
I have a strong sense that we are indeed being fooled. Here, the military and the government seem to eventually pull together to get much needed money for the military, playing on our millennia-old existential fears.
The Histadrut deserves broad support for its efforts to stop the erosion of workers’ rights and the large-scale replacement of tenured employees by temporary workers. We won’t be fooled.
Sir, – It’s high time the Knesset passed a law that disallows strikes if they are not declared before midnight the night before.
Going to sleep and waking up not knowing if the country will cease functioning is a national absurdity!
Raising hackles
Sir, – I think it is outrageous that on the day the Histadrut begins a strike we are given news that members of the Knesset are getting a raise of NIS 1,200 shekels per month and back-pay in a lump sum of nearly NIS 15,000, bringing their salaries to about NIS 40,000.
What is not mentioned is all the perks and extras they get on top of this – pensions, cars, telephones, etc.
To add insult to injury, Speaker Reuven Rivlin said MKs must receive enough remuneration to avoid the temptation to take bribes and become corrupt. What a disgrace! If that is a reason to increase salaries, there is no end to the jobs that could use the same criteria.
At the end of the day, how much work do most of our MKs do? Watching the Knesset Channel, the building is three-quarters empty most of the time.
Unfortunately, with our current electoral system, we the ordinary people have no one to complain to in order to right these wrongs.
Sir, – The latest salary increase and one-time payment for our illustrious MKs are in addition to all the significant perks and benefits that go with the job, many of which are expenses that most of us pay out of pocket from much lower earnings. Our legislators are therefore almost totally immune from the effects of the price increases they approve in almost every sphere, whether gas for the car, public transportation or postal fees.
Even more galling is the knowledge that we, the taxpayers, are footing the bill for all of this while not having even the slightest say, thanks to our totally non-representative electoral system.
And given the number of MKs indicted and/or convicted for bribery and other serious financial improprieties over recent years – despite their high salaries and benefits – Reuven Rivlin’s apparent justification rings so empty that the echo is deafening.
GERSHON HARRIS Hatzor Haglilit
Sir, – On the day of the general strike to improve the plight of our poorest workers, a salary raise for MKs is announced! This is in addition to the numerous benefits MKs have received, like a recent (July 2011) additional “clothing stipend.” How out of touch and indifferent these MKs are to the country’s needs and priorities! How propitious that Isi Leibler’s call for electoral reform appeared in the same issue (“The erosion of Israeli leadership,” Candidly Speaking).
Let us redouble our efforts to achieve electoral reform and vote the rascals out.