Histadrut Labor Federation head Ofer Eini declared a general labor dispute on Tuesday in protest over the Finance Ministry's refusal to raise civil servants' salaries. Public employees have demanded a monthly addition of nearly 13% of their salaries. Negotiations on public employees' rights began some nine months ago. Task groups were established to address issues including pension increases and the structure of the public sector. Thus far, the talks have not yielded fruits. The Finance Ministry said in response to Eini's announcement that salaries in the public sector have already been raised 1.5 percent in the past four years due to promotions and accrued seniority, and further increases were unjustified. Civil Servants Union head Ariel Yaakovi said that public employees have not had a collective agreement with the public sector in five years, Army Radio reported. "I don't understand why the Treasury doesn't think that a clerk who barely makes NIS 4,000 [a month] doesn't deserve a raise like government ministers. We're talking about a few dozen shekels," he said. "They can't keep demanding that we do good work for starvation wages," Yaakovi said. The announcement of a dispute will allow the Histadrut to call a general strike if a solution is not found within two weeks.