Court sets hearing after Histadrut strike call

Histadrut tells National Labor Court negotiations with Treasury have reached dead end; says without threat of strike, talks will be "dragged out."

Ofer Eini 311 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Ofer Eini 311
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The Histadrut labor federation launched a fresh bid on Sunday to hold a general strike over the employment status of contract workers, telling the National Labor Court that negotiations between it and the Treasury had reached a dead end.
Following a meeting between National Labor Court president Judge Nili Arad and representatives of the Histadrut, Treasury, Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations and Union of Local Authorities to assess the labor federation’s request, the court decided to schedule a hearing on January 8, 2012, over the Histadrut’s request to strike. In the meantime, Judge Arad asked the parties to file their written arguments to the court.
Histadrut's request to strike refused
During Sunday’s meeting, which took place in Arad’s chambers, the Histadrut told the National Labor Court that there was “no other option than organized means” to end the conflict.
“We have arrived at the moment of decision,” Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini said in a statement sent to the press earlier on Sunday.
“We said two weeks ago that only under threat of strike would negotiations progress… Without the threat of a strike, the Finance Ministry and employers can drag these negotiations out for a long time.”
The National Labor Court first ordered the sides to conduct negotiations over the status of contract workers after allowing the Histadrut to hold a four-hour strike on November 7. The Histadrut threatened the strike after the October release of the Trajtenberg Report on Socioeconomic Change, which it said legitimized continued public-sector contracting.
The Histadrut is demanding that the number of contract workers be reduced by moving some of them to direct employment.
The Treasury has offered to improve the labor conditions of contract workers, but rejects discontinuing the use of cleaning and security contract companies altogether.