Deal reached to end local authorities strike

Agreements signed in meeting between union and PMO director-general, Harel Loker.

Trash piles up during Local Authorities strike 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Trash piles up during Local Authorities strike 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Union of Local Authorities and the Prime Minister’s Office reached a deal Tuesday evening, bringing to an end a two-day nationwide strike that started Monday.
Under the deal, brokered between Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Harel Locker and Union of Local Authorities (IULA) chairman Shlomo Bohbot, low-income populations will receive discounts on water taxes, and a freeze will be enacted on planned alterations to property taxes that would have reduced the IULA’s budget.
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The deal also included an agreement that Locker will chair a forum to discuss issues relating to local administration, and that the allocation of national lottery proceeds will remain unchanged.
The forum will also include officials from the Welfare and Social Services, Interior and Education ministries, as well as the Finance Ministry budget director and the IULA directorgeneral, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
It added that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would take steps to thwart initiatives in the Knesset that would place budgetary limitations on local authorities.
Bohbot called the agreement “an unprecedented achievement,” noting that “the water prices will go down for the poorest segments of society, the disabled and the elderly.”
He also vowed that within the next 45 days, there would be developments regarding water prices for the middle class as well.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) praised the two sides for reaching an agreement in “this just struggle for the citizens of Israel,” and praised the prime minister for “listening to the just demands in the document of mutual understanding signed by the Interior Ministry and the local authorities.”
A number of Likud mayors across the country either broke the strike or refused to take part from the beginning, including the mayors of Netanya, Nazareth Illit and Nesher.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) also issued his disapproval of the strike, saying Tuesday it was “not justified, harms citizens and should be brought to an end swiftly.”
The strike shuttered municipalities across the country, and those who took part included sanitation workers, parking inspectors, school bus drivers, school security guards, and welfare services staff.