Steinitz, social workers meeting ends without agreement

Ministers order staff to continue negotiations; 20 protest outside ministry as last minute talks took place to avoid looming strike over wages.

A last minute meeting between Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and social workers' representatives ended without an agreement being reached on Friday. A planned strike was expected to begin on Sunday.
Steinitz and Welfare and Social Services Minister Moshe Kahlon ordered their staff to continue negotiations with the social workers and the Histadrut.
RELATED:'Raising the minimum wage is too little, too late'Social workers use Facebook to rally colleagues, public
Outside the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem, some 20 social workers and Labor Youth members protested with chants of "We want justice, not charity," and "No security without welfare."
Steinitz was meeting with Kahlon, Histadrut Chairman Ofer Eini and Social Workers Union chairman Itzik Perry in the last minute effort to avert the looming strike.
Roughly 10,000 social workers were set to strike on Sunday over the government’s failure to agree on an adequate wage increase for them.
According to the National Union of Social Workers, even though most social workers have academic degrees, the base pay for a new social worker in the public sector is no more than NIS 2,300 a month, with income support and other fiscal benefits bumping it up slightly.
After two or three years in the trade, social workers can usually expected to earn no more than NIS 6,000 a month. They have been in negotiations for more than six months with the Treasury to change the pay scales.
Ruth Eglash contributed to this report.