Meuhedet signs work agreement

Agreement gives 4,500 employees of Israel's third largest fund higher pay, improved benefits.

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)
Meuhedet Health Fund and its workers signed an agreement with the Histadrut labor federation Sunday entitling the third-largest health fund’s 4,500 employees to a wide range of benefits, effective until the end of 2017.
The deal puts an end to years of labor turmoil, strikes and employee anger surrounding Meuhedet, whose leadership repeatedly was criticized of corruption and replaced.
The three partners to the agreement called it a “historical collective agreement” that would “significantly improve the working conditions and wages of the employees, especially those with the lowest incomes, and give them employment security.”
All employees who earn a gross salary of less than NIS 5,000 per month and have been with Meuhedet for more than five years are to receive NIS 500 more in their paychecks. Those who earn between NIS 5,000 and NIS 7,500 are to get NIS 400 more per month, while employees getting more than that are to have NIS 350 more.
Meuhedet workers who gross more than NIS 20,000 a month will not get an increase, said Avi Nissenkorn of the Histadrut.
In addition to the raise, those who have been working at Meuhedet since before October 2013 are to get a one-time bonus of NIS 1,200 in their next payslip.
The health fund’s workers are to get more vacation days, accumulating up to 65 days a year depending on how many days a week they work. Compensation for vacations are to increase, and tenure is to be granted to all those who have worked in the health fund for two years.
Dismissals are no longer to happen without Histadrut officials and Meuhedet administrators first negotiating the employees’ cases.
Another section of the agreement increases deductions for pension. It was agreed that Meuhedet staffers who want to rise in the ranks would get a boost when competing with outsiders, and that employees would not be transferred to a job location more than 30 kilometers from their current one.
Histadrut official Arnon Ben-David said the accord is historic because it “eliminates” workers’ fears that they do not have vocational security.
“From today, they can raise their heads high from knowing that they have a collective agreement that improves their wages and social conditions,” he said. “The Histadrut will stand at the workers’ sides and continue to bolster their status.”
Meuhedet had been troubled by management scandals that led the State Comptroller’s Office to call in 2010 for the dismissal of most of its executive management.