Bus drivers strike across Israel Sunday morning

"The state will burn in the biggest drivers' strike we have known," bus drivers' union Histadrut Haleumit warned.

 Waiting at a bus station, June 26, 2022. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Waiting at a bus station, June 26, 2022.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

The bus drivers' protest is escalating and after three weeks of fighting over their terms of employment and personal safety - on Sunday morning, public transportation was halted across much of the country. "The state will burn in the biggest drivers 'strike we have known," warned the bus drivers' union Histadrut Haleumit in a statement.

The drivers of the companies Electra Afikim, Extra, Tnufa, Dan Beersheba and Beit Shemesh Express shut down a number of lines for three hours, between 6 a.m to 9 a.m., in many cities around the country. According to the workers' unions, the strike was carried out due to the refusal of Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli to meet with the drivers and discuss with them their demands and the imminent reform.

 Sunday traffic disruptions on Highway 4, June 26, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI) Sunday traffic disruptions on Highway 4, June 26, 2022. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

Due to the strike, severe disruptions and traffic congestion were expected throughout the country. The list of cities where public transport services was not provided follows:

  • Jerusalem (lines to and from Shappirim, Beit Shemesh, Bnei Brak, Modi'in Illit, Ben-Gurion Airport and Neve Ilan)
  • Netanya (inner-city lines)
  • Ashdod and nearby towns (inner and inter-city lines)
  • Petah Tikva (all inner-city lines and some inter-city lines)
  • Rosh Ha'Ayin (inner and inter-city lines)
  • Yavne (inner and inter-city lines)
  • Gan Yavne (inner and inter-city lines)
  • Bnei Brak (lines to and from Jerusalem and Ra'anana)
  • Beersheba (inner-city lines)
  • Ariel (inner and inter-city lines)
  • Beit Shemesh (inner-city lines and lines to and from Jerusalem)
  • Shomron Regional Council (all inner-city lines and some inter-city lines)

Transportation Minister Michaeli addresses the issue

"I am with them one hundred percent, the drivers are absolutely right, they deserve better conditions and salaries. since my first day as Transportation Minister, I've been fighting with the Treasury on this issue,"  Michaeli said before entering a cabinet meeting, I'm saddened the Treasury does not understand this yet, I have no doubt that in the end, they will.

"In the meantime, I have brought money from the Ministry of Transportation budget to pay all drivers as much as is possible," she added

"Speeches do not solve the drivers' plight, and statements do not solve the suffering of the drivers. As long as we earn starvation wages, work 14 hours a day and defecate in bottles, sympathy on the part of the minister will not help," the bus drivers' union Histadrut Haleumit said in response.

"The responsibility for transportation is on the transportation server and we look forward to solutions," they added.

IDF soldiers' return to base disrupted

Due to the fact that it is Sunday, soldiers faced difficulty returning to bases. The IDF facilitated commutes for the soldiers and issued special instructions regarding travel hours. According to IDF instructions:

  • Soldiers serving in open units at level C and D operations will not travel by public transport before 10 a.m.
  • Soldiers serving in the training units at operations level B will not travel by public transport before 11 a.m.
  • Soldiers serving in the combat units, training units and headquarters at operations level A will be based on the IDF's shuttle response.
  • The parking lots will open at 10 a.m. In exceptional cases, the unit commanders are authorized to approve an earlier trip.