Bus drivers going on strike throughout country on first day of school

Two of the major bus transportation companies in Israel will be protesting on the first day of school this coming Sunday.

An Egged bus in front of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
An Egged bus in front of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Drivers from Egged Transportation and Superbus will be conducting a joint country-wide strike on Sunday, the first day of the school year for many children, in an effort to protest the discrimination and poor conditions for private bus drivers working for public bus transportation companies.
The strike comes in response to a breach in agreement between the bus drivers’ union and the Ministry of Finance, which had a preliminary agreement to increase the drivers’ salaries to NIS 43 an hour by the month of August.
“There is no reason to discriminate against bus drivers in private companies. The state neglects the public transportation system in the periphery areas,” said the spokesperson for the public transportation drivers’ union.
The strike will occur between the hours of 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday to mark the start of the school year. It will take place in Netanya, Afula, Beit Shemesh, Tiberias, Beit She’an, Migdal Ha’emek, Gush Etzion and some of the internal lines in Jerusalem.
“The state says today unequivocally – public transportation workers in private companies are worth less than Egged drivers... The state agreed to pay an additional 43 NIS per hour for Egged drivers only,” said Haroun Shosh, chairman of the Superbus union committee.
This is a complete disregard for the fact that more than half of bus drivers in Israel are employed in private companies,” said Shosh, chairman of the Superbus union.
“We fought to be given the same conditions, and now the state has again renounced us,” he continued.
“What light at the end of the tunnel do the bus drivers have? Our demands are the bread and butter of our work,” said Ra’id Mishal, chairman of the Egged workers union.
“The state talks about the importance of public transportation, while at the same time insisting on treading all over the bus drivers,” summarized Maya Peretz, head of the branch of the transportation drivers force for workers.
“We struggle for the safety of the drivers – every week the drivers are exposed to violence, and the state ignores it. There is no reason why a bus driver in Afula should earn less than a driver in Tel Aviv.”