Hundreds of social workers protest across the country

Strike enters 8th day; heavy traffic in Hadera caused by drivers honking in support; social workers help residents in Itamar despite strike.

Social Workers 311 (photo credit: RUTH EGLASH)
Social Workers 311
(photo credit: RUTH EGLASH)
Social workers held demonstrations nationwide on Sunday, the eighth day of their strike, with no agreement in sight to ensure them the better wages and working conditions they are demanding.
Hundreds of social workers blocked the Ein Hamifratz junction between Haifa and Acre as part of their protest “against the low wages and the Finance Ministry’s foot-dragging” in the negotiations, one of the demonstrating social workers Ruth Jaeger said. Acre Mayor Shimon Lancry participated in the protest.
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Similar demonstrations were held near the Hadera Police Station near Route 4, where Hadera Mayor Haim Avitan also came to show his support. There were also protests at the entrance to Safed and across from the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
Talks held last week between representatives of the Social Workers Union and the Finance Ministry have yet to bear results.
Efrat Stretiner, a social worker for Hadera’s Welfare Department, said that heavy traffic was caused by drivers who slowed down to honk or shout their support for the strike, although the demonstrators stood at the side of the road, bearing signs reading “We Are Not Social Slaves,” “Justice, Not Charity.”
While no meeting had officially been scheduled, it was widely believed that talks between the sides would resume with the return of Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini from the United States on Sunday evening. When that did not occur, there was talk about a meeting on Monday.
“It is all in the hands of the Finance Ministry now,” said Social Workers Union spokesman David Golan said.
The Union of Local Authorities has warned that if an agreement isn’t reached by Monday night all the services the local authorities provide, except for education, would be shut down in a solidarity strike that would begin Tuesday.
Various protests are planned for Monday; these include demonstrations in the country’s markets and a protest by haredi students of social work in Jerusalem’s Malha shopping mall.
On Saturday, the Social Workers Union allowed social workers in the Samaria Regional Council to offer assistance to residents of Itamar, following the terror murders of five members of the Fogel family.
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.