Lifeguards to resume work stoppage this weekend

Rookie lifeguards earn minimum wage; authorities offer a NIS 1 per hour raise.

Despite three drownings last weekend during the strike, labor sanctions will once again be in effect on Friday and Saturday, the Lifeguards Union has announced. "The National Union of Local Authorities didn't even bother to negotiate with us this week, so we have turned to the National Labor Court and asked the judges to allow us to stop our work again," Avi Affia, head of the Lifeguards Union, said on Wednesday. He said that, like last week, their members would stop work at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with the exception of Tel Aviv and Haifa, where lifeguards would continue to work until 7 p.m. as usual. He added that even though the court gave permission to lifeguards who were hired via manpower companies and have less social benefits to start the strike at 1 p.m. last week, they insisted that all lifeguards should leave their stations at 5 p.m., two hours before their shifts are over. Motty Dannos, spokesman of the National Union of Local Authorities, said, "The lifeguards' latest announcement of another strike is criminally irresponsible. We hope that the Labor Court will not let this anarchy, which cost the lives of three victims, continue." Rookie lifeguards earn NIS 19.50 per hour, minimum wage. The National Union of Local Authorities has offered them a NIS 1 per hour raise and says their salaries include several benefits that add up to a decent wage. During last weekend's National Labor Court session, the judges instructed that the strike be limited in scope to prevent the kind of casualties seen during the last such strike. They ordered lifeguards in Tel Aviv and Haifa to continue work as usual, while elsewhere they could leave the beaches two hours early. Eyal Malma, Histadrut spokesman, said this weekend's strike would observe the framework authorized by the court last weekend.