Despite the latest display of concern for the rights of workers of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, Histadrut labor federation chairman Avi Nissenkorn was once again targeted for a protest demonstration on Monday night, when IBA workers held their Passover Seder outside his home in Hod Hasharon.Nissenkorn has notified the government that he is opposed to the agreement reached between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, because the amended public broadcasting bill does not make allowance for severance pay for those IBA workers who will lose their jobs and it does not offer any real solutions to matters that are still in dispute.Under the compromise agreement between Netanyahu and Kahlon, the news division at the new IBC will be operated by the employees of the old IBA’s news division, and not by new hires as planned.Zionist Union MK Shelly Yacimovich, who is running against Nissenkorn in the upcoming Histadrut leadership election, is likewise dissatisfied with the compromise agreement, saying that it does not make provision for collective wage agreements and it offers very few additional job slots. Moreover, the proposed news corporation to be established within the framework of the compromise will be dependent on whoever is in charge of budgets at the Finance Ministry, which in effect will make that person the editor, said Yacimovich.
On Sunday night, the Justice Ministry issued a memorandum whereby it proposed that news broadcasts be expunged from the obligations of the yet to be launched Israel Broadcasting Corporation, and that its news division be annulled.The memorandum suggested that an additional corporation entirely devoted to news and actuality be established as a subsidiary of IBC, but independent of it, and that people hired for the news division by IBC be employed at the news corporation at the same salary and in the same position, unless that position is already being held by someone from the IBA news division that includes journalists from Channel 1 and Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet.It is not clear from the memorandum where this leaves Geula Even-Saar, who IBC had announced would be its chief news presenter. Even-Saar is a veteran IBA current affairs broadcaster.The memorandum, which also postponed the closure of the IBA from April 30 to May 15, was issued in response to petitions to the High Court of Justice by the alternate journalists union in Tel Aviv, along with members of the IBC workers committee and attorney Eldad Yaniv, who is a member of the Labor Party. The petition for an interim injunction to prevent the compromise agreement from taking effect was denied by Justice Isaac Amit, on the grounds that it was not the role of the court to prevent the government or the Knesset from initiating legislation.Acting Communications Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Shlomo Filber, the director- general of the Communications Ministry, declared that the proposed amended legislation would restore the dignity of IBA workers who were hired under humiliating conditions by the IBC. They also suggested that in view of the fact that IBA news people will be employed at IBC, other IBA workers who have not been absorbed by IBC could now be taken on so that fewer people will lose their jobs.Hanegbi said that the proposed amendment had been prepared by teams from the Communications, Justice and Finance ministries. Representatives of all three ministries intended to meet with Histadrut representatives to see if there is a way to increase the over-all number of job slots, said Hanegbi.
Israel Broadcasting Authority ( IBA ) staff in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv protest against closure, on March 19, 2017 (credit: REUTERS)